Monday 8 April 2013
Photo, above: Under Maggie Thatcher, the Falklands war ended well enough for Great Britain, poorly for Argentina. Argentina is still steamed. See: Hour 2, Block A on Mrs Thatcher. Clarin, Argentina’s leading daily newspaper, hasn’t forgiven or forgotten that the Iron Lady bested their nation’s military in the Falklands War of 1982. Its obituary of Baroness Thatcher claims, in effect, that she drank herself to death. “The life of the most controversial of Britain’s 20th century prime ministers ended with senile dementia, confined to her Knightsbridge mansion, under the care of a nurse and unable to go outside because she got lost. Before that, she had suffered the ravages of too many gin and tonics,” Clarin wrote. The only graceful element of the Argentine reaction to Thatcher’s death is that there has so far been no official government response from President Cristina Kirchner’s administration. Perhaps silence would be golden.
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, in re: Al Qaeda in Iraq leader's fate highlighted in Facebook postings Jihadist social media sites are asking supporters to pray for Abdullah Azzam al Qahtani, an al Qaeda in Iraq leader who admittedly proposed an attack against the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Al Qahtani, the sites say, was scheduled to be executed inside Iraq this week.
Mujahideen for the Environs of Jerusalem
Taliban suicide bomber kills 5 ISAF personnel in southeastern Afghanistan Three ISAF soldiers and two civilians who worked at the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Qalat were killed in the suicide attack in the provincial capital of Zabul.
Increased targeting of IMU continues in Afghan north ISAF operations to kill or capture high-value targets from the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan are at their highest frequency in the 11-year war.
The anatomy of green-on-blue tensions in Panjwai An examination of the factors that lead to insider attacks and tensions in the volatile district and across Afghanistan.
Taliban suicide assault team strikes courtroom in western Afghanistan Ten policemen and 34 Afghan civilians are reported to have been killed as the Taliban attempted to free prisoners being transported to a court for trial in Farah City.
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Lanhee J Chen, Hoover & Bloomberg, in re: How Obamacare Will Distort the Health-Care Market
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Lara M Brown, Villanova, in re: Mike Murphy: "The GOP's greatest challenge is the fact that Democrats begin each presidential election with a near lock on the Electoral College. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have given their electoral votes to the Democratic presidential nominee in at least five out of the last six elections. These states represent 257 electoral votes out of the 270 needed to win the presidency. Under current trends, the GOP nominee has to pull the equivalent of drawing an inside straight in poker to get to the White House."
The Great Gun-Control Fizzle Obama, the gun industry’s best friend ever. HARMONY – If one French-Indian guide had not been a particularly bad shot, George Washington would have died in this Butler County village when he passed through at the age of 21, after failing to negotiate a treaty with the French. Washington dubbed the village “Murdering Town” in his journal of 1753. That was after he and guide Christopher Gist nearly lost their lives as they returned from delivering a blunt message from England’s King George, telling the French to get off his land. Washington and Gist received a polite but curt French refusal. They made haste back toward Virginia, only to lose their canoe in icy river rapids. Arriving here, they met an Indian guide who agreed to show them the fastest route to the forks of the Ohio. Just a few yards along the path, the Indian turned and fired his musket point-blank at Washington.
Prof Lara M Brown spreadsheet: states are ordered in terms of winning vote share margin for the winning candidate. In other words, in each year, the states colored in light blue were won by the D candidate and the ones in light red by the R candidate. Also, highlighted in green is the state that "tipped" the winning candidate into winning the Electoral College. So, for instance, you'll see that PA was the "tipping point" state for Obama in 2012. Had Romney won, PA, VA, OH, and FL - he would have won the election. While everyone may know that, the "electoral lock" Murphy is worrying about does not really exist. When you "normalize" these elections by that year's national vote share (meaning that you look at how far above/below the national vote share was compared with the winning candidate's vote share in the state - not on the attached spreadsheet), it's true that in four of the last five elections, OH, FL, PA, and WI have gone Democratic, and/but in each of these elections all four of these states are within 2%. In short, 77 electoral votes are NOT a lock for either side, even though the Dems have won them recently. The key thing is that there were more states (10) within the +/- 2% (of the two-party national vote share) margin in 2012 than in 2008 (7 states), 2004 (8 states), 2000 (8 states). The battleground got larger in 2012, not smaller. In other words, Romney was not as bad as McCain – and, in fact, his campaign did a whole lot of good in getting the GOP back to where it can be competitive going forward. Hence, the best way to think about Romney's loss is that, while he came up short in the marathon race, he shaved a lot of time off the winner's margin.
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Michael Tackett, Bloomberg News, in re:
Texas Turns Battleground as Cowboy Boots Win Hispanics Alex Steele begins his pitch on how to turn Texas into a Democratic state like any good politician, with the story of how he got to this place. Steele, 31, and others have come to Texas on a mission as large as the state’s 261,000 square miles: to capitalize on the surge in Hispanic population and turn the Lone Star State into a two-party competitive one instead of the place where the Republican nominee has carried every presidential election since 1976.
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 2, Block A: John Avlon, CNN, The Daily Beast, and Newsweek International; John Fund, National Review Online; Taegan Goddard, Political Wire, in re: Hillary Clinton and the 51%
Clarin, Argentina’s leading daily newspaper, hasn’t forgiven or forgotten that the Iron Lady bested their nation’s military in the Falklands War of 1982. Its obituary of Baroness Thatcher claims, in effect, that she drank herself to death. “The life of the most controversial of Britain’s 20th century prime ministers ended with senile dementia, confined to her Knightsbridge mansion, under the care of a nurse and unable to go outside because she got lost. Before that, she had suffered the ravages of too many gin and tonics,” Clarin wrote. The only graceful element of the Argentine reaction to Thatcher’s death is that there has so far been no official government response from President Cristina Kirchner’s administration. Perhaps silence would be golden.
IMMIGRATION: Distrust and Then Verify
Below: A vista of the Falkland Islands, object of an Argentine invasion.
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 2, Block B: John Avlon, CNN, The Daily Beast, and Newsweek International; John Fund, National Review Online; Taegan Goddard, Political Wire, in re: continued
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 2, Block C: LouAnn Hammond, Drivingthenation.com, in re: Automobiles, Fisker – "they're bleeding and there's no one (not even the communications dept) is there to stop it."
Fisker, associated w electric vehicles, looks ahead beyond fossil fuels. It produces luxury sedans & hybrids—"bankruptcy" word is floating around; 160 of 213 employees laid off.
Obama’s stimulus gave Fisker a credit line of more than half a billion dollars; nonetheless, it's filing for bankruptcy. No Fisker Karmas sold in six months since the A123 company went bankrupt & was purchased by Chinese company that turned it into B456. Both Chinese companies are concerned about DOE loan. Fisker loan: borrowed $192 mil; able to borrow $530 mil, but didn't. Tesla is successful; had 6,800 batteries, had here been a fire it would have been encapsulated in a tiny little area. Tesla is founded on technology--Fisker bought their tech from A123. If the govt sneezes wrong, it spends $200 million. Does Fisker/A123 failure point to a chain of evidence that electric cars aren't working? We spend $1bil per day on oil. The Chevy Volt isn’t an EV, it's a hybrid. Notice that DoE labs – Argonne, et al., can design technologies, then sell them to another country, which then can sell them elsewhere. GOP currently angry because Fisker tech going to China.
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 2, Block D: . .Gordon Chang, Forbes.com, in re: China wants no negative comment from North Korea because there's a large DPRK constituency in the PLA.
Kim Jong-eun: a puppet and a fool – yet continually provocative toward ROK. Is Pres Park ready to shot back? They want to. The ROK military is sick of absorbing deadly blow after deadly blow [in fact, Pres Obama forbad them to] . ROK very concerned abt the failure of US leadership – want to strike back harder than the Pentagon wants; ROK doesn’t subscribe to "proportionality" – rather, to deterrence. China is perhaps fed up with the Kim family, but Jong-eun couldn’t do any of this without tacit agreement from the PLA in Shanghai. China is laughing at the US. Kim is a fool but behind him are killers.
China Helped North Korea Target American Cities Today, Kim Jang-soo, South Korea’s new national security director, said North Korea may fire off a missile as soon as Wednesday. The launch will undoubtedly be a test of an intermediate-range missile, not an attack.
North Korea last week moved two missiles, which were subsequently loaded onto mobile launchers, to its east coast. Many expect the missiles, which have been subsequently moved to hidden locations, will be fired in trajectories arcing over Japan. The Pentagon is not at the moment especially concerned about Pyongyang’s longest-range missile, the Taepodong-2, a variant of the successfully tested Unha-3 rocket. It takes weeks to transport, assemble, fuel, and prepare the Taepodong-2, giving U.S. forces many opportunities to destroy the missile on its large launch pad. The Pentagon, however, is worried about Pyongyang’s mobile missiles, even though they have shorter ranges. It is telling that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on March 15 cited the North’s newest launcher, the KN-08, as a reason for the administration’s decision to deploy 14 additional interceptor missiles in Alaska.
Photo, above - Kim Jong-eun's second-most appalling quality: the worst haircut in public life.
The KN-08 sits on an eight-axle mobile vehicle—a transporter-erector-launcher in military lingo—that can hide and shoot, so America’s costly missile defense system is considered necessary because of the hard-to-find KN-08s. China transferred to North Korea at least six of those mobile launchers, a clear violation of Security Council sanctions. Some media reports in South Korea and Japan state that the two missiles now on the move are KN-08s. Seoul, however, believes they are Musudans, which have a range of only 2,500 miles, and perhaps less. Whatever is true, Washington policymakers have been reluctant to confront the implications of the Chinese effectively using the North Koreans to target U.S. cities. Beijing, by supplying the mobile launchers, substantially increased the North’s ability to attack the American homeland.
A test of one or both of the mobile missiles will roil an increasingly troubled region. In recent weeks, Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s 29-year-old leader, has issued increasingly dire threats suggesting a history-ending conflict. Young Kim followed up his withdrawal from the Korean War armistice and his threat of a pre-emptive nuclear attack on the U.S. by disclosing the route his missiles will take on their way to Austin, Texas and warning “the moment of explosion is near.” All this is bluster or, as former American diplomat Christopher Hill recently put it, “buffoonery.” The North Koreans do not intend to start an all-out war—they do not intend to start even a small one—but they are making threats at a particularly sensitive moment because North Asia is far from stable. With new North Korean, South Korean, and Chinese leaders needing to prove themselves, nobody in the region is willing to back down. The main problem, of course, is Pyongyang. The regime is in disarray as Kim, in power for just 16 months, tries to consolidate his position after destabilizing his own ruling group with purges of senior military officers and other officials last year. At no time since 1949 has a North Korean leader had a smaller base of support than Kim does today. [more]
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 3, Block A: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: The only purpose for P5+1 mtgs from Iran's POV is to delay and delay to give it more time to dvp uranium and bomb. Cathy Ashton said what?
US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Iran that talks on its nuclear program cannot last forever, after a new round failed to make progress. "This is not an interminable process," he said at the start of a trip to the Middle East, Europe and Asia. "No options off the table" – does Iran believe that the US is prepared to stand by its word? Every day, reports of new facilities and sites; may believe that Israel is prepared to t act, but the US? Maybe not.
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day: an attempt to destroy an entire people. This is the anniversary of the first escapees from camps reaching the West and telling the world of the mass murder. The world went silent and swept the story under the rug. Yad Vashem has collected the names of 4.2 mil specific individuals; a million more in an addtl list. The camps weren't the largest kiillng fields – we don’t even have the locations of all the killing fields. That's how vast it was.
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Sinai is overcome by al Qaeda, alarming not only Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood but also Hamas. Multiple groups operating with impunity, incl radicalized Bedouins. Coptic churches under attack, Gaza: Israel has moved an Iron Dome unit back to Ashkelon.
Egypt is not under the govt's control - Salafists climbed walls of the Iranian charge d'affaires in Cairo tooday; the police quelled that in the nick of time. Egypt has flooded hundred of Gazan tunnels with sewage in order to protect its economic interests.
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 3, Block C: . Tunku Varadarajan, How Margaret Thatcher Transformed British Politics Confounding, irrepressible, flirtatious, stubborn, and unabashedly conservative, Margaret Thatcher was once the most powerful woman the world had ever seen. By. Of the four most significant politicians in Britain in the last 200 years, only one—Winston Churchill—was a man. The others—Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth, and Margaret Thatcher—weren't (or in the case of Elizabeth, aren't) any such thing.
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 3, Block D: David Sanger NYT, in re: U.S. Draws Up Counterpunch for Provocation by North Korea American officials said new “counterprovocation” plans called for a proportional “response in kind” that would hit the source of any attack by North Korea with similar weapons.
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 4, Block A: Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder (1 of 4)
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder (2 of 4)
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder (3 of 4)
Monday 8 April 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder (4 of 4)
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Hour 1: Eagle; Spartacus
Hour 2: Wolfman; Uncharted Drake
Hour 3: Wrath of Titans; Iron Lady
Hour 4: Defiance; Season of the Witch