June 11, 2012
Monday 905P Eastern Time (605P Pacific Time): .Devin Nunes (CA-19), in re: National Park Service horses found dead from dehydration. Staff malfeasance, and Dept of the Interior bad attitude.
Monday 920P Eastern Time (620P Pacific Time): .Bill Roggio, Long War Journal, and Arif Rafiq, Pakistan Policy blog, in re: Kayani refuses to meet Peter Lavoy. US military official. In years past, Lavoy received top access in Pakistan - meeting with Musharraf and, it's understood, was told quite a bit about the nukes. Both countries looking each other in the eye, waiting for hte other to blink. Without overland Pakistani routes: northerly, via Central Asia and Europe, but that road is operating at ten times capacity; the Soviet-blt tunnel is narrow and prone to ventilation problems, so it's an inferior alternative to the Pakistani route. Major eqpt - large tanks, et al. - can barely go through. Plan B? Nope. Can;t trust this eqpt to the Pakistani military, so wd have to destroy it to avoid having Taliban get its hands on it. Sheikh Al Libi actually dead? Mmm. Video to be released. We'll see. Vid could have been in the pipeline and only now released; or he could be alive. He's a hero to lots of young jihadis. If he's stil alive, he'll become a major star in their eyes.
Monday 935P Eastern Time (635P Pacific Time): .Ben Smith, Buzzfeed, in re: Romney campaign video takes Obama wildly out of context? A new web video from the Romney campaign claims the President flip-flopped on hiring more government workers. In context, he was talking about the decline in public-sector employment during the last recession compared to an increase under Ronald Reagan. In any case, the president's remark that the private sector is doing well is deeply inaccurate. Has the Obama campaign yet recovered? Nope. In view of the staggering amt of info coming through social media, TV, radio, Internet - we're in a little over our head in speed and volume, although Buzzfeed is utterly brilliant.
Monday 950P Eastern Time (650P Pacific Time): .Jim McTague, Barron's Washington, in re: Nasdaq CEO lost touch amid Facebook chaos. Interviews with more dozens of investors, regulators, Nasdaq officials and people close to Facebook or lead underwriter Morgan Stanley provide the most detailed picture yet of what went wrong at Nasdaq when Facebook went public. Since the May 6, 2012, flash crash, everyone's known that the market is owned by robots and their masters. Programmed to trade at the speed of light - in and out of the mkt in seconds. If you shorten the trade time to 7 seconds or less, the machine can prognosticate accurate over 90% of the time. In the Facebook IPO, Nasdaq was overwhelmed, couldn't confirm sales instantly, the programs fretted (in effect) and began selling. John Avlon: End of the value investor? JMT: Yes, at least for the moment. Regulators are clueless - suggest putting a speed limit on trading [urgh] so the regulators's slow machines can keep up. Market is the first industry in US to become wholly automated; a warning to all of us. These machines are programmed by mathematicians to make decision on their own. Cut cost at the expense of he retail investor to have fled the market.
Monday 1005P (705P Pacific Time): . Taegan Goddard, Political Wire, and John Fund, American Spectator, in re: Why did the president decline to back up the Democrat in Wisconsin? Most people thought a recall for this issue was inappropriate - shd be used only in cases of corruption or something grave - so many Democrats voted for Scott Walker in the recall even though they'll vote for Pres Obama in November. San Diego and San Jose: voters favored a fairly dramatic clawback of the funds for public-union workers. San Jose Democratic mayor, Chuck Reed: liberal on all issues except spending into oblivion. There seems to be a wave forming - San Diego and San Jose are are the eighth- and tenth-largest cities in the US, both governed by a Democratic mayor. The Obama Administration must come up with a solution to the cold arithmetic, or it'll be on the wrong side of history.
Obama's campaign is well aware that he may end up like Jimmy Carter or George H. W. Bush, the two most recent one-term Presidents, who were both defeated despite some notable-even historic-accomplishments, including the Camp David Accords, under Carter, and the Gulf War, under Bush. Many White House officials were reluctant to discuss a second term; they are focused more on the campaign than on what comes after. But the ostensible purpose of a political campaign is to articulate for the public what a candidate will do if he prevails. Said David Axelrod: "It's a tension. On the one hand, you don't want to be presumptuous in assuming a second term. But campaigns are about the future, and there is an imperative to spell out where we're going." "Obama has an ambitious second-term agenda, which, at least in broad ways, his campaign is beginning to highlight. The president has said that the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change, one of the few issues that he thinks could fundamentally improve the world decades from now. He also is concerned with containing nuclear proliferation."
Monday 1020P (720P Pacific Time): . continued.
Monday 1035P (735P Pacific Time): .Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: The New Yorker: possibility of a second Obama Administration, "Symmetry. Failed to speak out in the Green Revolution of Iran. 'It turned out that what we intended as caution the Iranians saw as weakness.' " Took this administration two years to grasp the intentions of the false speakers in Iran. Need Russian cooperation - supplying missile eqpt and satellite materials now. What counts is not what you mean but how it's perceived by the other side. All - Iran, al Q, - say that the US is weak. For Min Lavrov is going to Teheran Iran issued statement today saying the al Q in the Southeastern Med is more dangerous than nukes. US continues to show more and more weakness. IAEA is at zero. The weakness that the Obama Administration now acknowledges - P5+1 is right to interpret weakness. With Iran, same process as for the last years. Washington turn s its back on Iranian students and citizens.
Syria,Homs: plumes of black smoke rising up over the city. No UN plan. More Gulf and Saudi money going to opposition, more weapons. But nuclear and bio stockpiles in Suryria: Jordan rcvg nuclear scanning technology form US to protect itself from Syrian nuke-chem-bilo weapons. Still very divided Syrian oppo. In-country, killings mount, monitor cant get to sites - Syria attacked UN members with drones and heavy weapons. Dual-use technology; Syria has 60 plants. Putin visiting US in ten days; not feeling squeezed at all. UN totally ineffectual. Frantic. Intl community is unable. [The whole thing is a charade.] See videos of murdered Syrian children with their mothers doubled over in grief. The most civilized leaders in the world have no answer. "Never again"!
Monday 1050P (750P Pacific Time): .Gordon Chang, Forbes.com and The Daily, in re: Mixed reports, essentially a negative picture of China's economy: electricity production outpaces the growth of the economy, so the economy is growing at 1%, or 2% at most. Stockpiling of commodities in order to borrow against them. Car mfrs have been forcing dealers to buy cars to claim they've been sold. Inventory is 60 to 80 days fro domestic cars. Sixty thousand Volvos sitting on a lot, never to be driven.
China - Growth in industrial production, retail sales and investment in fixed assets like factories and office buildings was little changed from April. Not yet a deflationary spiral yet, but that's not out of the question for late summer. Will depend on how effective the stimulus may be. China has a bankruptcy law, but it's nothing like ours. For one thing, there's no equivalent to Chapter 11. China bulls find no comfort in May's numbers except for car sales. China's figures show manufacturers' sales to dealers, not dealer sales to consumers. Bloomberg reports that dealer inventories have swelled as manufacturers are forcing them to take cars they are having trouble unloading. Need two or three months of good news before we can say that China is pulling through. Beijing is approving bldg steel mills to create an artificial bump. Can postpone problems - make the worse - but can't avoid them. If no good Christmas in Europe, surely no good Christmas in China. Spain's Christmas present; coal.
Monday 1105P (805P Pacific Time): .Anna Nemtsova,Newsweek in Moscow, in re: Yulia Tymeshanko remains jailed for 7 years on corruption charges. Effort by EU to free her; Russia no help.
Monday 1120P (820P Pacific Time): .Reza Kahlili, author, in re: Iran boasts of its right to nukes, prepares to intervene in Syria.
Monday 1135P (835P Pacific Time): . Michael Balter, Science magazine, in re: the earliest record of stratification and classes, in Homo sapiens, in Europe 7500 years ago.
Monday 1150P (850P Pacific Time): .Jed Babbin, American Spectator, in re: the leaks investigations; and will Mitt Romney make it a campaign issue?
Monday/Tues 1205A (905 Pacific Time): .Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart (Vintage) by Stefan Kanfer, 1 of 2
Monday/Tues 1220A (920 Pacific Time): .Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart (Vintage) by Stefan Kanfer , 2 of 2
Monday/Tues 1235A (935P Pacific Time): .Ben Smith, Buzzfeed, in re: Romney campaign video takes Obama wildly out of context? A new web video from the Romney campaign claims the President flip-flopped on hiring more government workers. In context, he was talking about the decline in public-sector employment during the last recession compared to an increase under Ronald Reagan. In any case, the resident's remark that the private sector is doing well is deeply inaccurate. Has the Obama campaign yet recovered? Nope. In view of the staggering amt of info coming through social media, TV, radio, Internet - we're in a little over our head in speed and volume, although Buzzfeed is utterly brilliant.
Monday/Tues 1250A (950P Pacific Time): Brian Chen, in re: is Android failing in the US?
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Hatfields and McCoys by John Debney and Tony Morales
The Raid by Mike Shinoda and Joseph Trapenese
Iron Lady by Thomas Newman
The Ides of March by Alexandre Desplat
Brake by Brian Tyler
Eastern Promises by Howard Shore
Prometheus by Marc Streitenfeld
Treasure of the Sierra Madre by Max Steiner