Tuesday 24 September 2013
Photo, above: Map of Texas wind speeds. See: Hour 2, Blocks C & D, The Great Texas Wind Rush: How George Bush, Ann Richards, and a Bunch of Tinkerers Helped the Oil and Gas State... by Kate Galbraith and Ashe Price
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Co-host: Larry Kudlow, The Kudlow Report, CNBC; and Cumulus Media radio
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Larry Kudlow, The Kudlow Report, CNBC; and Cumulus Media radio, in re: Sen Ted Cruz (R – Tx) on his feet passionately in favor of defunding the ACA, LK: putting ObamaCare on trial. Sen Ayotte says he's "merely slowing down the inevitable"; I disagree. . . . Maybe the Democrats will take out defunding and put in the individual mandate. Today discovered that 500,000 children will be taken off the rolls because they misidentified . . . JB: Sending over the CR to the House, Mr Boehner can delay the individual mandate for a year – president cannot negotiate that because it’s the only chance they have to sign people up . . . LK: Legislative ruling.
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Veronique de Rugy, Mercatus Center, @veroderugy, in re: The most recent employment reports show that 67% of new jobs created this year are part-time jobs. The economist Veronique de Rugy analyzed the problem of under-employment in her latest post for National Review’s The Corner. Her findings included the following:
- Under-employment of the labor force is visible not only in the shorter hours people are working, but also in the kinds of jobs they're getting.
- Women have seen some advances on the job front, but the gains have primarily been in lower-skilled and lower-paying industries.
- Workers discouraged by under-employment, particularly women, continue to drop out of the labor force.
- Current government policies of handouts and benefits are destroying incentives to work.
When women don’t drop out entirely, they outpace men in getting jobs, but under-$10-an-hour jobs. Adding to ec problem is the uncertainty: debt, excessive spending; people understand instinctively it’ll lead to more taxes; another big factor is Obamacare, which makes the cost of hiring very high. In the 1980s, women were a major factor in increasing the labor force. LK: If you pay someone not to work, they won’t. How much of this is federal funding? VdR: A big part. Esp in Europe. LK: Women in low paying jobs were a huge part of Obama's voting constituency – but he's done zilch for this group. VdR: Agree – also young people, in low-paying and part-time jobs. Shoudn't think, "Oh this'll get better later" because 70& % of job growth occurs in the first ten years of your working life. Nobelist economist points out that the generous Euro welfare system generates Europeans' working less.
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: : Lee E Ohanian, Professor of Economics, UCLA; senior Fellow, Hoover, in re: Has just published with John Taylor: In 2009, things went bad right away in the American recovery and Reinvestment Act: $1 trillion if investments and tax breaks, advertised as stimulus, to ensure that unemployment never increased above 7%,but it went to 10%. Increased debt hugely and did not increase jobs . A significant policy mistake. LK: Are you convinced we're in a recovery? [Increase] of jobs is still 'way low and bz capital spending is well below its 2007 peak. LO: Were not in a recovery. Addtl metric is productivity growth – all underperforming; we're still very much in a recession. LK: Why won't bz invest? LO: Obamacare, the cost of getting financing up because of Dodd-Frank; also, long-term capital expenditure in face of no idea where policies are going, and corp tax rate among highest not the world, ad marginal tax rates can go over 50%. Not a healthy ec fundamental. LK: New bz formation is way below in the 2000s. JB: Money shoveled to state govts wasn't used to pay for infrastructure or new jobs; was used to down debt and increased transfer payments. Designed by Larry Summers. LO: First, substantial overhaul of corp tax rate – brings in little rvenue because people are smart; reduce marginal tax rates across the board; reduce govt pending, entitlements under control, EPA sensible. Tax system first, energy and labor next.
Why is the current recovery so weak? It's not because of the aftermath of the 2007-08 financial crisis. US financial markets began to recover in late 2008, more than four and a half years ago. Our view is that poorly designed and implemented government policies have impeded capital and technological investments and hiring, and that bad government policies—not underlying problems with the U.S. market economy—are the primary reason why the economy has not recovered. [more]
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Gregory Zuckerman, WSJ and author, The Greatest Trade Ever, in re: J.P. Morgan Agrees to Pay $920 Million over Trades J.P. Morgan agreed to pay about $920 million in fines over actions tied to its 2012 "London Whale" trading debacle, regulators in the U.S. and U.K. Whose side is the govt on – Bruno Iksil's? Will depend on testimony from the London Whale, himself. Have decided that he sufficiently warned his colleagues (boss and junior) of the danger, while they'll turn around and blame him. Five charges – fraud, et al.; $6bil in losses in London – mostly, that these fellows covered up the losses. There's evidence that they inflated and overstated their positions. Jamie Dimon: He did call all this a tempest in a teapot on a conference call; not clear that he knew how big the positions were or how risky they were. The traders point not at Dimon but at the Whale. No evidence of any bank grabbing mkt share from J P Morgan; however, lawsuits are piling up and more stuff coming down. A little shine has come off Mr Dimon.
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 2, Block A: Claudia Rosett, FDD, in re: One hundred ninety-three nations gathered at United Nations. This is the world's biggest, most expensive karaoke bar. When a head of state stands up and speaks, his home press broadcasts back to home and he grandstands for his domestic constituency. A useful event. The also eat and sleep extremely well in Midtown Manhattan. Formed in 1945-46 to make sure there'd be no more apocalyptic war. They didn’t mention what sort of nations - democratic, modern, fair-minded; here, kleptocracies and despotic states; didn't want to offend Joseph Stalin. Democracies are at a disadvantage because they're bound to keep the agreements they make but tyrants can go home and do anything. Omar al Bashir, under ICC indictment of genocide; says he's coming anyway. Iran: no change between Hasan Rouhani and the odd Ahmadijnejad. He's just more boring. Iran wants nuclear weapons, demands he right to enrichment, beat up on Israel, and hold the messianic vision of perfect collaboration of Mankind. Also the moderate denial of the Holocaust. Pres Obama: "There's no Great Game" – what?? Doesn’t the president have someone to brief him on what the Great Game is? Iran: same duplicitous destruction; abuse and torture of it own people; death in Syria via the IRGC; good relations with Khartoum/Bashir.
Heads of State jet in, motorcades and police blockades jam the streets of Manhattan, and amid the gridlock the five-star hotels, restaurants and jewelry stores do a booming business — it’s late September, time for the United Nations General Assembly’s annual opening. This event has by now so far outstripped a three-ring circus that there is no keeping track of the full scene. Dissertations could be done (to deadly effect) on the side panels alone. But here’s a quick and dirty guide to some of the highlights, and lowlifes. The current hoopla marks the opening of the General Assembly’s 68th annual session since the founding of the UN, in 1945. Officially, this session actually began last week, on Sept. 17. But that was just the windup. The real action comes this week, as the big shots arrive for what is called the General Debate. Though what they do in public is less a debate than a parade of theatrical statements. The UN today has 193 member states. All of them get a turn on the GA main stage. So does the Holy See, and so does the Palestinian Authority. To get through the entire lineup by next Tuesday, Oct. 1 (with a break on Sunday), the UN urges the speakers to observe a “voluntary 15-minute time limit” (and suggests that “Delegations may wish to inform their capital of this procedure”). But these are all speakers who are used to being important, if not on the world stage, then at least in their home countries; most of them are heads of state, or ministers (with the occasional vice minister or deputy thrown in). In some cases they command a world spotlight; in others they are mainly grandstanding for the folks back home. Either way, the speakers typically run over the time limit — one memorable example being Muammar Qaddafi’s speech in 2009, which went on for more than an hour-and-a half. So the schedule, which you can find here (the speaker lists will be added daily), is an approximate guide, with speeches starting at 9 AM, and officially divided into a morning and an afternoon session, though in practice they often run over into the lunch break and sometimes well into the evening. The best way to keep track is to follow the speaker lineup — which has its peculiarities. Were the UN an outfit with a moral compass, there might be some chance of the most repressive governments speaking last, or perhaps not speaking at all. But at the UN, protocol trumps such matters as morality, and a democracy such as New Zealand can end up waiting its turn after Iran and Sudan. The rule of thumb is that heads of state and heads of government take precedence over those of lesser title. But that doesn’t always apply. UN officials say that states sometime swap slots, or make special requests, and the basic show is a product of the inner workings of the General Assembly. Brazil goes first, on day one. Then the U.S., the host country (Note to U.S. taxpayers, your money bankrolls 22% of the UN costs for this extravaganza, plus — especially if you are from New York — virtually all of the added security costs). Most GA openings have their stars, or their starring events. In 2009, that was Qaddafi, who was riding so high at the UN that the tyrant himself, after years of sending his minions, decided to appear in person. The UN doesn’t do much to advertise it these days, but at the time — just four years ago — Qaddafi’s Libya had been elected to a seat on the 15-member Security Council, Qaddafi’s former foreign minister had been elevated to president of the General Assembly, and Libya was on its way to winning a seat on the “reformed” UN Human Rights Council. Last year, the signature GA event was the Assembly trying to do an end-run around the Oslo Accords, by voting to “upgrade” the PA’s status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state.”
. . . In this landscape, a highly prominent outlier is Israel, whose prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is coming to New York to speak to the General Assembly. He’s scheduled for the very last spot, number eight, on Tuesday, Oct. 1. North Korea notwithstanding, he has some decent company that morning, including the Holy See. And I'm told that this scheduling was done at Israel’s request, partly to allow for Jewish holidays, but also to dovetail with a meeting scheduled between Netanyahu and Obama in Washington the day before, on Sept. 30th. Still, whether Israel requested it or not, there's something deeply disquieting about seeing the only full democracy in the Middle East consigned — for whatever reasons — to the last spot in the lineup. At the very least, it’s emblematic of the twisted world that the UN — the real UN, not the Model UN of utopian propaganda — keeps trying to create. A story you probably won’t see on the TV news is that the UN General Assembly is including in its official agenda this year, as it has for many years, an item on “Armed Israeli aggression against the Iraqi nuclear installations and its grave consequences for the established international system concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy…” (you can read the entire passage here, just scroll down to item 46). This is a reference to Israel’s destruction in 1981 of Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor — for which the UN, with its official pieties about promoting world peace, ought to be issuing annual resolutions praising and thanking Israel. That bombing run, done at substantial risk, quite likely spared the world the horrors of a nuclear-armed Saddam. Food for thought, as Iran’s Rouhani speaks at the UN in New York this week, not only on the GA main stage, but at a special conference scheduled for Thursday — a High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on Nuclear Disarmament. Quite a show. [more]
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 2, Block B: Sohrab Amari, WSJ, in re: Ken Pollack is a thoughtful commentator, but he argues two options in Iran: strike now to delay or destroy its nuclear program, or learn to live with it – and that second may be better. JB: The Iranian people will live in slavery and fear for the indefinite future. SA: Box off Iran, so it doesn't encroach on our allies, then apply other pressure s such as ideological warfare I think we can't contain Iran militarily. When we try to contain a regime, we have a serious deployment of troops and forces to surround and ready to use them. In the case of Iran now, we're sort of withdrawing under Obama, so can’t contain them unless we're present in a serious way. JB: Nothing said today to suggest we'd deploy forces. SA: President shamefully said not a word about human rights in Iran. The idea of containment requires sending a message psychologically not only to the mullahs but also to the Arabs and Israelis assuring them we'd be ready to move to protect against [red lines]. We’ve already acquiesced so often in so many events even non-nuclear, how would anyone think we'd be strong in case of nuclear activity?
The gathering at Turtle Bay this week of the U.N. General Assembly has once again renewed hope in some quarters that the U.S. might reach a negotiated settlement with the Islamic Republic of Iran over the mullahs' nuclear-weapons program. Will Barack Obama and Hasan Rouhani shake hands in New York? Is rapprochement between Washington and Tehran just around the corner? As I argue in my review of former U.S. National Security Council staffer Kenneth Pollack's new book, Unthinkable: Iran the bomb, and American strategy, the U.S.-Iran conflict is about Tehran's ideology of enmity, not its nukes. The Islamic Republic knows this; Washington doesn't. [The full review is pasted below, and you can also read it here. ] . . . Napoleon called China a "sleeping giant." Nicholas I saw a "sick man" in the declining Ottoman Empire. Teddy Roosevelt said Germany was an "outlaw among nations" in 1918, and Reagan in the 1980s termed the U.S.S.R. an "evil empire." There was an essential wisdom behind each of these coinages. It's why they endure.
Photo, below: Texas hill country.
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 2, Block C: The Great Texas Wind Rush: How George Bush, Ann Richards, and a Bunch of Tinkerers Helped the Oil and Gas State... by Kate Galbraith and Ashe Price (1 of 2) . . . hurricane-force winds knocks down a bunch of turbines. . .
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 2, Block D: The Great Texas Wind Rush: How George Bush, Ann Richards, and a Bunch of Tinkerers Helped the Oil and Gas State... by Kate Galbraith and Ashe Price (2 of 2)
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 3, Block A: Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, in re: The central issue is not the tragedy of Nairobi or the tragedy of Syria [both funded and comprehensively sponsored by Iran] ; it's the predation of Iran, [aiming toward] nuclear weaponry and global terror. Hasan Rouhani: a tactical change, a different image, speaking with soft language but insisting as before on their rights to enrich uranium, the center of the dialogue between P5 + 1 and Iran; nothing has changed. Work by Iran to delay, to cause Washington to lift sanctions – and Pres Obama agreed in general. Iranians in diaspora listening to this hear truth? Lies? Iranians who live abroad trust no cleric. Those who speak favorably of the clerics are promoters of the regime, knowingly or occasionally unknowingly. Photo today of Rouhani shaking hands with the president of France: picking on France as a weak partner to fracture relations between US and allies. France has been a strong promoter of sanctions. Basijis and IRGC attacked the British embassy; Iran now trying to smooth that out. Want to tire out the US with increasing pressure. Ambition of the Supreme Leader remains that Iran has the right to build nuclear weapons and project power Iranians are playing chess while the US is playing checkers. Happy with Rouhani's work today: a media blitz, much success for the military coup/predator regime in Teheran. The coupmasters, the Supreme Leader and his pawn Rouhani, represent terror.
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, in re: Americas Cup in San Francisco, plus a tale of intrigue and tax-dodging . . . Also: Jerry Brown, and Seagate/Solyndra
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Avik Roy, Manhattan Institute, in re: Policy and health insurance in setting up exchanges.
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 3, Block D: John Tamny, Forbes.com, in re: Washington’s looming government shutdown, led by GOP.
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 4, Block A: Michael Tomasky, Daily Beast, in re: War-weary United States: a leftist view.
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 4, Block B: James Taranto, Wall Street Journal, in re: The Palin Tell She admits the ObamaCare defunding effort is futile.
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Eric Trager, Washington Institute, in re: Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood dealing with deaths, arrests and street protests because of decapitations.
Western Media Is Fixated on the Wrong Arrest in Egypt Last week, Egypt’s military-backed government continued its decapitation of the Muslim Brotherhood, arresting four top officials. These included three members of the Brotherhood’s 17-member executive Guidance Office, as well as an official in the Brotherhood’s Cairo office. All of these leaders play essential roles in the Brotherhood’s infamously hierarchical, nationwide chain-of-command, and their arrests will further erode the Brotherhood’s ability to mobilize coherently against the military’s July 3 ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi. Yet despite the significance of these arrests—coming before the Egyptian military banned the party altogether today—the Western media largely ignored them. Instead, Cairo-based journalists focused on the arrest of Gehad el-Haddad, an English-speaking mouthpiece for the Brotherhood who does not hold any actual authority within the organization’s command-chain, and therefore isn’t quite a “senior” official, as some reports described him. Indeed, far from reflecting Haddad’s actual relevance, the massive, headline-grabbing attention that Haddad’s arrest is receiving—and the State Department’s subsequent public denunciation of it—reflects Western journalists’ tendency to exaggerate the importance of the accessible, English-speaking spokesmen on whom they frequently rely, and thereby overlook the far more important players who actually call the shots.
Prior to his arrest, Haddad, 31, was nothing if not accessible. He was in constant contact with reporters through virtually every mode of communication imaginable, eagerly answering phone calls, e-mails, texts, and Twitter direct messages. He was also a reliable source for the Brotherhood’s conventional wisdom, which he frequently tweeted from his well-followed account. And after many Muslim Brothers went into hiding following Morsi’s removal, Haddad seemed especially accessible, even offering tours of the Brotherhood’s northern Cairo protest site. So when journalists needed a quick quote or pithier tweet to capture the Brotherhood’s views, they naturally turned to Haddad: He speaks good English, craves the attention, and–even despite his oft-criticized intellectual dishonesty—dependably reflects what committed Muslim Brothers are thinking at a given moment in time. But Haddad’s accessibility to journalists—and his resulting prominence in the Western media—severely distorted his otherwise minor role within the Brotherhood’s hierarchy. To borrow a convention from the "The Office," Haddad was an assistant to the now-incarcerated deputy Supreme Guide Khairat al-Shater. And given that he was living in Britain at the time of the January 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak and only returned to Egypt a few months later, Haddad’s emergence was largely due to nepotism. His father, Essam el-Haddad, is a . . . [more]
Tuesday 24 September 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Robert Zimmerman, behindtheblack.com, in re: William Shatner not taking up on flight for Virgin Mobil. Private space. 1. Cygnus docking delayed until Saturday because of software issues and the arrival of a manned Soyuz capsule. 2. Dream Chaser completes wind tunnel tests of its thermal protection system. 3. Boeing copmletes tests of the thrusters for its CST-100 manned capsule. 4. SpaceX has scheduled its upgraded Falcon 9 launch for no earlier than Sept 29, and is delaying a December cargo mission to ISS because of upgrades to Dragon. 5. Russians have scheduled the next Proton launch for September 30. 6. William Shatner turned down a chance to fly on SpaceShipTwo because he's afraid of flying! Scientists trace a link between the Sun's orbit in the Milky Way and past mass extinctions.
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Hour 1: Avatar, Brake.
Hour 2: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Hatfields & McCoy.
Hour 3: Hotel California, Bourne Ultimatum, Knight & Day.
Hour 4: Knight & Day, Assassin's Creed, Star Trek.
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