Summer Scuttlebutt

By Lloyd Graff

John Kerry (L) with Iranian Foreighn minister Javad Zarif (R) and others in Lausanne March 26, 2015. Courtesy of businessinsider.com

Seldom have I struggled with a political and emotional issue like I am with the Iran nuclear deal. My gut tells me to be against it, because Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is so adamantly opposed to it.

My dislike of Obama and John Kerry also pulls me to oppose it, but my sense of the deal, intellectually, is that it is a net plus for the world. I think that Iran would have developed a nuclear bomb capability eventually if they wanted to do it, and there really was no way to stop them. Sanctions punished them over the last few years, but ultimately they would make a bomb.

Obama came to this conclusion five years ago and pushed to get what he thought was the best deal possible. I don’t know if the 10-15 year delay in Iran’s bomb program will permanently stop them from becoming a nuclear power, but Iran has a young and fairly well educated population and there is hope for regime change. So I am siding with taking a chance on the deal, because the other options appear worse. Bombing Iran does not seem like it will work. Defeating the treaty will not mean we will get meaningful sanctions on Iran because the Russians, Chinese and Germans will not go along.

Could Obama have done better with Iran? Probably, but I do not really know. At this point, with what I know, I am reluctantly for OK’ing the deal.

******

The self-driving car seems to be moving ever closer. The three German car behemoths, Volkswagon, BMW and Daimler, just bought Nokia’s mapping software for $3 billion, which they will share. This is a strong signal that they are in the race to be early with an autonomous vehicle but do not want to be at the mercy of a Google or Apple who are investing heavily in what appears to be the next REALLY BIG thing. Google is already building its own cars for testing. You see them all over Palo Alto and Mountain View. When Elon Musk was struggling to keep Tesla Motors afloat four years ago, he almost took his friend Larry Page’s offer of $5 billion plus assumption of debt for the company, but an all out sales effort by Tesla employees averted the sale.

Google doesn’t need Tesla to develop its car, but with Sergei Brin, Page’s co-founder now directly in charge of the autonomous car project it’s clear to me that Google is going to be a big player in the next phase of the automotive world. It scared the Europeans and should scare Detroit.

Uber also made a strong bid for the Nokia mapping software. They must have seen the autonomous car as a logical extension of their freelance taxi business that is valued at $50 billion by the private funding market.

I would imagine UPS, Fed Ex, and Amazon are all watching and investing in the area so they will not be left behind. I think we will see a product on the market before 2020.

*****

The oil and gas market is fascinating to watch these days. Contrary to what the pundits predicted the rig count is not going down, despite the U.S. oil price having fallen to around $40 per barrel. Evidently, the frackers have become so efficient and their wells so productive that $40 is still a price that is profitable. The Saudis keep pumping because their cost is $4 a barrel and they don’t want Iran to take market share.

Meanwhile, the refiners are raking in the dough because there is a limited capacity in America and they always schedule shutdowns to keep a lid on shipments to the gas stations. Refiners have traditionally been the least profitable part of the supply chain, but every dog has its day, and this is theirs.

*****

Where has the summer gone? Business has been cold, but my Cubs have been hot. Football coaches are scolding their players, and who cares if Ohio State has three quarterbacks who can play in the pros? Politics has been ridiculous with Donald Trump looking almost like a potential candidate next to the Republican assortment of wallflowers and Hilary Clinton struggling to move to her left while the press bruises her up about her Internet behavior. I don’t think Hilary will again blow the Democratic nomination, but she did it once to Barack Obama so you never know. Give her hell, Bernie.

Question: Are you for or against Obama’s deal with Iran?

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38 thoughts on “Summer Scuttlebutt

  1. David Garcia

    Obama lies, period. I could make a list. Greed for the almighty dollar is blinding many other countries including ours probably. Whether we like it or not Israel cannot let Iran have a bomb. Knowing what we found out about Hitler, would you have let him have a bomb just because eventually he would have had one anyway? I hope not. What would you have been prepared to do then? What you are advocating now?

     
    +19
  2. Terry Donovan

    I am totally against the ” deal ” , why would anyone think the Iranians would ever honor it. They have the sanctions lifted and will trade with the rest of the world , remember they sell arms to the terrorist , this will make the war in the middle east happen that much faster.

     
    +12
    1. Missy

      You worry that Iran will sell weapons to terrorists, but you don’t realize how surrounded they are by ISIS which follow Sunni Islam while Iran is shite.
      In the meantime, ISIS is driving around in U.S. Hummers, and isn’t it the U.S. that freely arms the rebels!?

       
  3. Nick Papagiorgia

    You are siding with taking a chance on the deal and you are a fool.

    Bombing has worked EVERYTIME is has been tried. We have the technology to reach deep into the ground. Problem is Obama and his ilk WANT the enemies of America to have nukes. Sec. of State Albright gave N. Korea nukes for peace under the Clinton Presidency then they created WEAPONS with it.

    Never side with our enemies having nuclear weapons…

     
    +12
  4. Scott Eighmy

    Lloyd, as I remember it, you were a big Obama fan before he got in office. I’m glad that you have figured him out now. The big issue here is his view of the world. He thinks that America is the problem, not the solution. If America and Israel are weaker, this makes things more fair for others. His deal kicks the can down the road and almost certainly enables Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.
    Your point about their population being educated is correct, but do you want to allow them to become nuclear and hope that by the time it happens more progressive leadership will be in place? I think not.

     
    +7
  5. Jon Tallman

    Sanctions were already working to delay their path to a bomb by hurting their economy. A strong leader (not Obama) would have increased the sanctions and made sure our partners stayed with us. That option would have intensified the pressure on their economy and probably be the fastest route to “regime change”. Instead we are opening up the coffers so they can buy more advanced centrifuges, fund world wide terrorism, and get a bomb sooner. Terrible deal.

     
    +6
    1. Tom McIntosh

      Your analysis is a good example of justifying anything in our minds if we think about it long enough. Obama and crew will be making a terrible deal if this goes through and there is no way to justify any other conclusion. Our country under the Obama dictatorship has been trying to throw Israel under the bus during his entire time in office.
      Too bad so many people still do not recognize his intent.
      Anyone who has been involved with running a company would love to negotiate with Obama, they would take the shirt off his back and he would still think he had made a good deal.

       
      +2
  6. KC

    Terrible deal. The sanctions should be retched up instead of lifted. Hopes of a regime change are misguided. Foolish, foolish, foolish. Weak, weak weak, deal.

    We will regret this deal forever. These people are insane and will do insane things. Just wait till they have a bomb and begin blackmailing the West with it.

     
    +2
  7. Thomas Johansson

    Absolutely against. “Deal” is yet another policy disaster that will make life more difficult for future administrations, real Americans and allies. And now, after six years of continuously degrading all that should be respected (Constitution, actual healthcare not faux insurance, families, work, tradition and country) you don’t like Obama anymore, but start promoting Bernie as Clinton’s personal flaws no longer can be covered up? Sweden and Germany are not the utopia liberals think. Let’s look at substance and content of policies and do what is right for our kids and grandkids and future generations. We are obligated to grow the economy and not allow Iran and likeminded nuclear weapons.

     
    +2
  8. Bob Dean

    I heard of a side deal to allow the Iranian military to inspect their own sites. Not a fan of the deal. When I was younger and we were training Iranian military(when we were allies), I tired to make friends with one gentleman. I finally asked why he treated me the way he did. He answered that I was an infidel and no better than the common dog in the street. He said he would rather kill me, but since he was told to obey American laws while he was here, he could not. He said if I was in Iran, I could be killed and he would suffer no consequences. They will look you in the eye and smile while they prepare to strike.

     
    +2
    1. Jack

      I heard something like that yesterday about the inspections.
      It sure looks like Obama just does not like the USA.

       
      +1
  9. Erik

    I am reluctantly for the deal. I would rather start there than start raining bombs on the Middle East again. It’s worked so well in the past.

    And having them completely closed off, working in secret is not a better arrangement. Bombing only motivates the extremists more. By putting inspectors on the ground makes it that much harder for them to make a weapon.

    It’s ridiculous that we’ve decided that we’re better off dropping bombs. Every difficult problem? Bomb them. Why? Because they hate us. I going to guess that the people responding to this aren’t too worried about being placed in harm’s way. We let other people do that. Then we kick our soldiers to the curb after they get back.

    Stop bombing other countries. You want a better solution, let’s hear your idea. And “continued sanctions” just brings a bomb sooner. We need to DO SOMETHING that isn’t war.

     
    +2
    1. Jack

      Do something just for the sake of doing something?
      A lousy deal is probably worse than no deal.
      It appears they gave Iran about everything they wanted.

      You think if we’re nice to them they will be nice to us.
      No it will just make it easier for them to kill us.

       
      +4
    2. Hardworking American

      Where your 100% wrong… is that no one, not one person or one country has advocated “raining down bombs” or starting any War at all. That is purely a straw man argument perpetuated by the Obama Administration. There are always other options. All of them purposely ignored by John Kerry, Barack Obama and other signers of the agreement that stand to financially gain by making this deal.

       
      +4
    3. TJ

      Taking war or force off the table (reading your comment I hear “anything but bombs”), in other words pretending it is not part of international affairs, is ignorant. All member states of the UN are not peace loving little countries like Iceland and relying on Iran or Russia to inspect or comply…? Releasing sanctioned billions for Iran to buy bombs and develop intercontinental delivery capabilities..? How can you defend that?

       
      +2
  10. Hardworking American

    How can our elected leaders in Congress make the best decision for our country when they have been purposely kept in the dark about the Iran Secret side deals? More importantly, why is our Government even making “side deals” with a country like Iran and keeping them secret from the American people and our elected lawmakers? How is this even happening? Google the words: Iran agreement two secret side deals.

     
    +3
  11. Jim Bradshaw

    What is wrong with you people. George Bush and his neocons did such a ban up job in the Middle East. When will we stop propping up ugly governments all over the world. Why don’t you work for more transparency everywhere in the world starting with our own government. Worry about the 1% that truly controls the world. Start working for a healthy environment, transparent goverment, fair wages and an end to wall street stealing all the money from our large corporations. The supreme court ruling that corporations are people tells me everything you need to know about the US. Obama isn’t the only problem, the entire corrupt political environment is. What a dog and pony show we put on for the american people to justify that we are better that the rest of the world.

     
    +2
    1. CLAYTON SMITH

      My God James,
      Could you get any further to the left. What is the left equivalent of Attila the Hun? I mean besides BHO!
      Clayton

       
      +3
  12. allen

    I’m going to defer to the folks who have the most immediate stake in the matter, Iran’s neighbors.

    Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other nations in the Middle East have made it pretty clear a nuclear Iran is a deeply bad idea.

    How’s a regional nuclear war sound?

     
    +2
  13. Richard

    If you think Iran is going to eventually have nuclear weapons anyway, why help them support terrorism in the interim, by give them $140 billions in advance? It’s foolish to believe that they’ll even wait 10 year to proceed – the ‘inspections’, purportedly to assure delayed development, not only require 24+ days advance notice, but we now learn that the Iranians themselves (not independent observers) will be inspecting their largest nuclear facility.
    The Obama/Kerry team engaged in stupid, sophomoric negotiating errors by publicly declaring the importance of making a deal, and ignoring the devil in the details. The Iranian leaders, who’ve survived very well with the sanctions, and in no hurry, needed only wait out the Obama/Kerry anxiety to structure a deal giving them the flexibility they desired and payment to boot.
    Avoiding war by relenting on security still results in war or defeat, only later, and encourages the bullies of the world. Kidding themselves into believing that this agreement will suppress Iran’s intended development of nuclear weapons is no different than Neville Chamberlain thinking that giving the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia to Germany would stop Hitler.

     
    +2
  14. Lloyd GraffLloyd Graff

    The comments are heartfelt and I respect the people who fear he deal. So do I? Most of my friends and family are against it, but in 2015, with what I know today, I don’t see where no deal and trying to restart negotiations and instituting sanctions without China, Russia and Likely Germany and France going along would be fruitless.
    Bombing Iran, would that work?
    Playing for time and possible change gives me some hope.
    I quiver at the thought of Neville Chamberlain appeasing Hitler in 1938. I read Scharansky’s letter comparing the situation with keeping the pressure on the Russians in the ’70s and 80s. I get the argument for no deal with bad people, but give me a better alternative for 2015 to try to contain Iran.
    I would like to try engagement rather than warfare. Haven’t we seen enough of that in Iraq and Afghanistan?
    We don’t have to be softies and pushovers. Israel and the U.S have overwhelming military capability if Iran abuses the deal. If there are unconscionable side deals I want to know about them and I reserve the possibility of changing my mind.

     
  15. Paul E.

    I sincerely don’t get this deal and if this is the best that we could do as touted by the administration and by all accounts it does not look like a great deal, Shouldn’t we have walked away from this deal and try to negotiate a better one?
    They never retracted for calling for the destruction of Israel, they sponsor terrorism and the only reason they got in bed with us on the war was because it benefited them!!!!
    True, there is a lot we don’t know that happens behind the scene but to me this is a red herring no matter how you look at it.
    I feel like we’re everyone’s B!TCH, the Russians have done whatever they want, the Syrians keep killing people, Iranians are celebrating and we manage to piss on the only real ally we have in the middle east…. Well done Obama the uniter in chief!!!!!

     
    +1
  16. Richard

    Yes, Lloyd, Israel and the U.S have overwhelming military capability if Iran abuses the deal, but they’re smart enough, and observant enough to know that this administration won’t recognize violations as ‘abuses’ serious enough to take military action, and the security of Israel and the region will die of a thousand cuts.
    It’s not a ‘war’ or nothing decision. The U.S. and others in the region have innumerable ways of discouraging Iran from further development, and economic and trade pressure could be applied to China, Russia, Germany and France to continue the sanctions. The surrounding countries can also be forced to take a more active role in providing their own security by combating Iran’s activities in the region. But yes, in the end, military and/or subversive action may be necessary, not necessarily to invade the country, but to destroy its infrastructure and facilities.
    Hoping they’ll change, given their inherent hatred of Israel and the U.S. doesn’t even seem to be a remote possibility, and relying on such hope only weakens our ability to prevent their developing nuclear weapons.

     
  17. Robert

    Part of the secret deal with Iran is to allow the Iranians to inspect their own nuclear sites. You have got to be kidding!! Without this deal Iran will stay an isolated nut case regime like North Korea. We may eventually be at war with Iran, but Obama’s deal not only protects but sanctions the Iranian nuclear weapons program while they perfect nuclear ICBMs. Little wonder the ultra Liberal Chuck Shumer is against this deal.

     
  18. Ken

    As a fairly intelligent person I must say I have no idea to be for or against it because no one really knows what is going on. It’s another one of those “we must pass it to read what is in it” type deals.
    My concern is that we have many folks who are muslim in the White House running things and chief advisors from Iran to both Hillary and Obama. How can you trust anything when the people making the deals represent the nation and perhaps the religion of that nation that we distrust to begin with.
    If Iran is actually a sponsor of terror then how can you deal with them to begin with?
    I’m not against Muslims, that’s not the point but I don’t trust people who will lie to my face and think it is fine because I’m of a different religion.
    Religion aside……do you really trust Mr. Obama or Mr. Kerry to do anything that is good for America? Heck, I don’t trust 80% of the Republicans let alone the democrats so how can I trust these far left wing extremist “Progressives”.
    I see very few in this administration if any at all who truly love this nation and would die for it let alone live for it and defend it. They are not thinking about what is good for the nation.
    Israel is another issue. They have been thrown under the bus.

    As for the bomb that Iran could make, heck who’s to say they didn’t acquire them a long time ago from Russia China, or North Korea?

    The fact is the proof of the pudding is in the eating. In time no matter what it will all play out and will see the huge mess this was.

    As for “Tail wagging the Dog”……what other more important things are not in the news and we are not talking about because of this stupid Iran deal?

     
    +2
  19. Jake Ranim

    President Obama said : “If Iran Cheats, The World Will Know.” How pathetically naive. The world has known for two decades that North Korea has defiantly cheated on the Clinton nuke deal and what has any president done since the agreement to enforce it – either democrat or republican? NOTHING.
    But the world knows it.

     
    +2
  20. Jake Ranim

    President Obama said : “If Iran Cheats, The World Will Know.” How pathetically naive. The world has known for two decades that North Korea has defiantly cheated on the Clinton nuke deal and what has any president done since the agreement to enforce it – either democrat or republican? NOTHING.
    And the world knows it.

     
  21. Dan

    Does anyone believe if the American people voted on this Iran deal it would have been passed? No way! Obama has had an agenda for America all along and has made it known. None of this should be a surprise to anyone. My 2 cents on how to improve within and not get into these situations as often as we do: 2 Term limit on congress. A single term limit on the President. No more ridiculous lifetime golden parachute just for being an elected congress person. An engaged American society that is involved politically and voting regularly. It would be amazing to watch how Washington would continually have new personnel that got there because they “promise” to behave better than their predecessors and represent there constituents. No more incumbents due to lack of voting. Immediate recalls for any congress person that openly campaigned one way and votes another. No more electoral college. We have modern technology and no longer need this type of uncontrollable election system. Obama has given a smart phone to everyone that doesn’t care to pay for one so why not figure out a system to use them to vote and turn over congress every few years.

     
    1. Jack

      Doesn’t surprise me.
      What does surprise me is the number of people that still support him. We’re doomed.
      Some good ideas.
      Except, you want the ones that don’t pay for their phone to control the country?

       

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