Monday 21 January 2013

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Photo, above:  The veteran jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar, head of the Mulathameen Brigade, is seen in a still image taken from the Mauritanian news website Sahara Media at an unidentified location on January 20, 2013 /Sahara Media website via Reuters TV.

“We promise all the countries that participated in the Crusader campaign against the Azawad region that we will carry out more operations if they do not reverse their decision,” said  the Mulathameen Brigade ["They who sign in their own blood"] statement.  Ideational disjunction: Azawad is a territory in northern Mali claimed to be becoming independent by Tuareg. Its independence was declared unilaterally by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) in 2012 after a Tuareg rebellion drove the Malian Army from the territory; it encompasses about 60 per cent of Mali's total land area. Problem is that Belmokhtar is now wholly detested by the Tuareg; were he to claim the territory, Tuareg would move to evict him (if they had the armaments to do so).

JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW

Hour One

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block A:   Larry Johnson, NoQuarter, and Tom Joscelyn Long War Journal, in re:  Mokhtar bel Mokhtar, ideologue of long standing, out of the Algerian civil war, has served each successive iteration. Attack in Algeria: "We in al Qaeda did this."  His new group, not part of AQIM, is loyal to aQ Central.  Taunts the French, who've asked not only the US but also the Russian Spetznaz (ouch).   Has created a new lightning rod of whoopee jihadists to come in from all over, French trying to grab him for 20 yrs; nicknamed The Untouchable.  LJ: I think they'd been planning this attack but French op in Mali accelerated. The y attacked w an inadequate force. The size of he area is vast; I watched real-time hat was going down; you would'a needed a battalion.  MbM will bring the fires of Hell on his head, was more of a criminal businessman than a fanatic [smuggling drugs, cigarettes; during daytime: "Mr Quran," but during night: "Mr Marlboro."]  TJ: He was a fanatic; went to a mtg in Durna, Libya, hailed by the hardest-liners there, the rad ideologues.   French found heavily-armed jihadists, said they;d come from Libya.

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Larry Johnson, NoQuarter, and Tom Joscelyn Long War Journal, in re:  Mokhtar bel Mokhtar, claiming the murder raid in the Algerian gas facility and killing Americans. LJ:  Africa Command stood up in Stuttgart.  My partner and I made a presentation about this guy to JSOC in 2006. He's a moneymaker, was more of s nuisance. What was carried out in Amenas has, in effect, elevated him.  Mali may cooperate w the US; Algeria has not [Algeria is furious at France for supporting the Tuareg, whom Algeria considers to be terrorist splittists].  TJ:  Library of Congress and others, incl Pentagon report, have lots of data on this guy and AQIM. A few weeks before 11 Sept 2012. Benghazi murders, report on ____ plans to bld up network in Libya, incl w AQIM.  Have become a lager problem than outsiders expected.   LJ: US has ltd reaching that region.  CIA will withdraw in one month from a certain region of Afpakia.  [Mokhtar is supreme leader of this crew; the main general is a Nigerian. Arms are Chinese and Russian guns and missiles, paid for by Qatar and bought from the post-Gaddafi Libyan armamentarium.]

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Lara M Brown, Villanova; Mona Charen, NRO; Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in re:   SZ: president inaugurated again today; initially referred to great Americans past, celebrated not American exceptionalism but American progressivism.  Has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder.  MC:  Towering vanity: Lincoln Bible, likes to speak of Gettysburg Address, didn’t reflect well on Obama because inviting comparison with Lincoln is unwise.  Permanent war; freedom not only for the lucky, equal pay for equal work – all straw men.  A liberal in liberal's clothing – o surprise; what advantage?  We live in polarized times and this president has felt that he's restrained himself for years when GOP took the House; now, he will solidify his progressive legacy, "the progressive Ronald Reagan." In 2008, ran as a "pragmatic progressive" – like G Bush, he's not exactly what he portrayed in his first campaign. SZ: in his speech, seems to me he was above all reminding the listeners of who he is; he was talking about himself. Looking at the "last moment" not as a historical moment but as a time when he doesn’t have to campaign again – he actually has to govern; his last moment to shine. I found he speech self-centered and self-serving.  MC:  Will marginalize GOP & hope to overturn their majority in the House.  Even John Boehner was slow to get that  this president does not make grand compromises; he's a street fighter, thinks, "How can I maximize my advantage?"  "There are no hard choices to make betw investing in entitlements and protecting he next generation" – which is deeply in accurate.

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Lara M Brown, Villanova; Mona Charen, NRO; Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in re:  MC: Highwire act with the full faith and credit of the United States govt. Imagine some Chinese minister says, "We no longer will buy US Treasurys" – and we could have a real crash, call out the Natl Guard, have a genuine mess.  I I don’t know how he'll navigate around this.  Urban agenda: that is what he ran on, is who he is, is what people voted for.  JB: In a city, it’s easy to agree with the president's bromides; in America, it’s a different environment, Is he taking a risk that 2014 won’t be another [hit] to the Democratic party?  LB: Dems who've moved away from Jacksonian Democrats – voted for Bill Clinton, then GW Bush, then wanted o return to Dems but don’t care for Obama's policies{?} 

Hour Two

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  . John Avlon, CNN, The Daily Beast,  and Newsweek International; John Fund, National Review Online; Taegan Goddard, PoliticalWire, in re: today's inauguration; the presidency for the next fur years.  Framing American politics; the balance between individualism and [collectivity.]

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  . John Fund, National Review Online; Taegan Goddard, PoliticalWire, in re: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security: pres priority is to cements the social welfare in this country and et someone else worry about paying for it. Were the GOP to do triple somersaults and give him all he asked for, maybe he'd concede something.    TG: He did speak of green tech for ec growth. Defense of soc welfare state & Soc Sec; not a bargaining chip. David Ploufe quoted Boehner that we'll need more revenues. TG: Republican Party is hopelessly divided now; think demographics on their side and that the majority of Americans support them.

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  . Henry Nau, Hoover, in re:  Another critical assessment of Mr. Obama's foreign policy.  He's been pragmatic all his life – reactive, not proactive.   Obama Puts the World at Risk

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Gordon Chang, Forbes.com, in re: The peaceful rise of China is a fiction: an aggressive,  imperialist state – intimidating Japan. "We can resolve our territorial disputes. Btw, you claim on the Senkakus are irrational and illegal."  Twelve hours ago, China again sent vessels into Japanese waters in the East China Sea. High-performance aircraft, very good Japanese ships, medium Chinese ships, and the new Japanese Prime Minister.  Mrs Clinton said; Japan administers the Senkakus (US is obliged to defend territory that Japan administers). In response, China went on a bender and denounced, even though Japan ahs done so – 1898-19145, and 1972 till present.   Now, the KN08, mobile missile, is being trucked around by North Korea, a Chinese partial vassal; missiles came from China, mean that DPRK can wage nuclear war.   Deeply wrong: the US has created to be condition s for China to be aggressors. People in Beijing are making decisions to destabilize the region.  Chinese growth at 7%-plus?  No – electrical growth was at 4%-plus, meaning that actual growth was 3%. The Chinese Communist Party depends on growth for legitimacy; now that growth is falling, the Party uses aggression, which leads to conflict in East Asia. Smell s lie 1914 – and no one is doing anything.  China is overflying Senkakus, which is illegal; the US needs to tell them to stop – or there will be war in East Asia – which would be very, very bloody.

Hour Three

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Fie million=plus Israeli voters will start voting in an hour. Were there to be a low turnout, ___. One-third of voters claim to be undecided; 33 parties; a Right-Left split, each also divided. Party with most seats in Knesset will get nod from president. Labor probably not beyond the 20-mark. Watch religious Zionist Party (10 to 15), and another leftist Party for protest votes. Need 70K voters (2%of all eligible) to get a seat in the Knesset. Netanyahu's first crisis; budget.  Knesset seats; 120 up for grabs; everyone wants a supermajority.  At least three Arab women will win seats – a revolution among Arabs; the one place in the Middle East where this can occur.  (A sad commentary.)  PA president, Abbas, said, 'The Zionist movement had links w the Nazis before WWII." His doctoral thesis was on Holocaust denial – he's a serial Holocaust denier.  The Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajjar al Amin, sat in Berlin for five years during the war, said, "Don’t send them to Palestine – deport them to Poland or Madagascar; or kill them."  Abbas is such a hypocrite, liar, disorter. Doesn’t allow democracy or freedom, filled with corruption. Denies the truth.

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents,  in re:  India has all along continued to violate sanctions against Iran – as does China; relates to waiver system whereby 20 countries reduced trade w Iran and were eligible for a waiver – but they ignore. Gold trade betw India and Iran, which in fact undermines the efficacy of the sanctions. Bread is up only 10-15%; in fundamentals, the regime has kept citizens from rebelling despite growing resentment and anger about economy. Today the head of the Central bank was forced out. Also see Iranians are increasingly hitting US banks with cyberwarfare; they’ve approached US govt for help. IAEA talks going nowhere, but of course scheduled more talks next month. Iran calls on Russia to protect Iran.  Russia sending two planes ot Beirut to evacuate 100 Russians leaving Syria.  Remember Russian ships in Latakia to evacuate discreetly; planes are obvious, so it's meaningful.  Syrian Natl Council  - cutthroats - failed to solve problems.  Syrian oppo is every man jack for himself – the atomization of society; no one speaks for anyone else. Drugs, currency smuggling.  Local warlords, jihadists, and lots of foreigners coming in from all over; never know who's at the other end of bullets. Deep nightmare. The danger is that we're moving into a worse situation.

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  . Steven Erlanger, NYT, from Paris, in re: Algeria Says Gas-Plant Raid Left 37 Foreign Hostages Dead  Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said on Monday that the known death toll among foreign captives had risen from 23 to 37 and that five additional foreigners remained unaccounted for.

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Christopher Drew, NYT, in re: Uncertainty on Batteries May Weigh on Boeing  If the issue with smoldering batteries proves more complicated, they could threaten the company’s plans to expand production of the planes, and the jobs that go with them.

Hour Four

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Mark Schroeder, Stratfor.com, in re: The French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, called on other world powers to send financial and logistical support to the Malian and African armies preparing to join French soldiers in the fight against al Qaeda-linked militants in Mali, Reuters reported Jan. 19. French forces are not meant to replace the African mission, Fabius said, and asked donors to commit assistance at a Jan. 29 conference in Ethiopia. The current operations in Mali and the mobilization of African forces constitute phases one and two of the mission, and the next phase, expected in a few weeks, will see ground forces begin pushing into northern Mali

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Jed Babbin, AmSpec, in re: Obama's speech today will be all platitudes and challenges. But it has to be watched in the context of his comprehensively confrontational strategy that will be in full bloom in SOTU.  The American Spectator : Coronation Day

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  Gretchen Morgenson, NYT,  in re: what about the bank penalties? "Paying the Price, but Often Deducting It."   In many cases when the government reaches a financial settlement with a corporation, the companies later deduct the payments on their taxes.

Monday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Amy Chozick, in re: At Activision, a Hero and Villain, Zapped Into One  Activision Blizzard, which sells must-have video games like those in the Call of Duty series, may be admired by Wall Street, but players often lash out at the chief executive, Bobby Kotick.

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