The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Air Date: 
October 08, 2013

Photo, above: LADEE spacecraft, built by NASA’s Ames Research Center. See Hour 3, Block C: Robert Zimmerman,


Co-host: Larry Kudlow, The Kudlow Report, CNBC; and Cumulus Media radio

Hour One

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Larry Kudlow, in re: Janet Yellin, crowned and surrounding by flapping doves.  Raising the Fed funds rate, tapering?  She subscribes to the Phillips Curve, not much worried about inflation.  Do not expect taper/slowdown of bond purchases till 2014.  Fed funds rate has been zero for five years; won’t be raised till 2016. Obama's first choice was Tim Geithner; then Larry Summers – too controversial – then offered it again to Geithner, who declined; so finally offered it to Yellin.  Boehner proposed a supercommittee; White House shot that down. Offered a short-term solution – how long is that? – but with no condition attached.  Boehner's riposte: only with no debt. Monthly on average, Treasury takes in $240 bil in revenues; debt interest is $34 bil.   Is the president scaring the market? Yes.

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Stephen Moore, WSJ editorial board member & chief financial writer, CROSS COUNTRY, in re: Using 'Sue and Settle' to Thwart Oil and Gas Drillers

t's the president's responsibility to cal ht  markets, not roil them.  He's referring to total govt expenditures; he's trying to make a broader case that the whole govt will default – which is not the issue. The US Constitution guarantees that these bonds will be paid.  Obama called Boehner twice today, the second time to say that he won't negotiate.  At his press conference today he was rude to the opposition, and fear-mongering in a way I've never seen before. Thirty-day paper has gone up 25 bps; everything else has stayed low. Ergo, the market is scared only that 30-day paper will be a problem.  Suppose the stock market drops 500 points? Then you'd have to make a deal.  Stocks are now picking up momentum on the downside; he's making everyone more anxious.  Coming: no Congressional exemption, and no _ tax; and maybe a one-year delay of individual mandate in exchange for the budget caps.  Harry Reid is taking his orders from Obama.

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover, in re: Silicon Valley on the ACA website: CoverCalifornia, the state site, says that 16,000 household apps are moving through the system; The thousands of phone calls had a 30-minute wait.   Cal has highest poverty rate in the nation - one-third of our population.  This is ground zero – Silicon Valley created all the historical software – and if it doesn’t work here, with the technology, the blue state, and the impoverished population, where will it work? We have an enormous number of clinics for poor people so there's no incentive to sign up; I think that people just won't sign up.  We have six or seven million illegal immigrants who won't care to enter all their information. The real story is daily anecdotal information. One person's health plan went from $700 too $1,300.  Companies are just jacking up rates.  Why would young people sign up for this? They're in great health. One of my children, twenty-something, works part-time in various jobs; can get a catastrophic plan for $150/mo.   GOP erred in trying to defund ACA by a resolution – can’t do it.  Needed to delay for ne year the individual mandate, wd have got support from Dems, esp Joe Manchin.   Also needed to save ammo for the debt ceiling.  No one likes the medical device tax or Congressional staff exemptions – GOP damaged itself strategically. People not aware that the medical device tax includes cochlear implants and cardiac pacemakers.

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Congressman Kevin Brady (TX-8), in re: Debt ceiling and ACA The  president's position – no negotiation whatsoever on the debt ceiling – is untenable, and everyone knows the real long-term challenges the country faces can’t be solved by next Thursday.  My assumption is he wants us to extend the CR and   . . .   The US shd be the most reliable country in the world in which t do business; but we can’t grant him unlimited borrowing authority.  We have $240 bil/mo of income vs $35 bil expenses. The market has correctly assumed we'll work this out, which we will   We ought to be reassuring markets.  Yellin is qualified, will see easing on steroids.  So far from Rep Brady's positions.  How to protect the value of the dollar over time?  I think she cares not a whit about that, not part of her galaxy of interest.  Keystone XL pipeline?  Growth is what eventually pays down debt; need to create jobs and economic output; rebalancing of regulation; tax reforms.  We're growing at a rate of 1% slower than we should be.   Clean debt bill?  Some support of that but small; 218 Republicans support some conditions n financial future going forward.

Hour Two

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 2, Block A: Eli Lake, senior national security correspondent, Newsweek/Daily Beast, in re: Benghazi’s Al Qaeda Connection  The Obama administration has been loathe to draw any connections in public between al Qaeda and the Benghazi attacks on September 11, 2012. A new State Department designation of an Egyptian terrorist however makes that link.  [more]  Mohammed Jamal Network, former op chief for Egyptian Islamic Jihad in the early 90s, with Zawahiri. After prison, formed MJN; when captured later, contents of his laptop show that he was still very much in contact with Zawahiri in 2012.   Might call it AL Qaeda in Egypt; also forming one in Sinai.  US intel community: at least one member of MJN participated in Benghazi in attack on the residence and the annex.   At east three al Q groups were there; US govt finally acknowledged what MJN is.  Coordinate with al Q in Islamic Mahgeb.  State Dept's own report doesn’t mention culprits; does say that someone was casing the facility the day before the attacks - ergo, it wasn't a months-long plan, but neither was a flash mob.   Ayman al Zawahiri has far more operational control of events than the White House allows for.   REUP from yesterday my piece on the #Benghazi assault's connection to al Qaeda

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Claudia Rosett, FDD &  OP/ED, in re: White House says, "We'll judge North Korea by its actions, not by its words"  -  what on Earth are we waiting for? The DPRK playbook for getting nukes works, so Iran will copy it, of course.  DPRK has set a dangerous precedent, wiht Iran deeply involved, by announcing its incipient nuke test. We just watched.  Iran learns that the US will do nothing, can do nothing.  Hasan Rouhani, the "moderate," met with Kim Yongnam, head of state of North Korea, who visited in Teheran, reminisced about a trip Rouhani made to meet Kim Il-song, the founder of the dynasty. Also travelled to DPRK last year for a Non-Aligned Meeting; signed a technological and scientific agreement, with attendance of head of Iranian atomic energy and the Iranian defense minister.   . Reported in the North Korean press.  DPRK and Iran both treat the UN Security Council as an entity to be fooled. When Netanyahu warned about Iranian-North Korean collaboration; DPRK then replied hat Israel is a cancer in the Middle East. Cahoots. 

Iran's Sequel to North Korea's Nuclear Playbook  As world powers prepare for nuclear talks with Iran next week in Geneva, U.S. negotiators and their cohorts would do well to review the history of nuclear deals with another rogue state: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. As Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reminded the United Nations last week, North Korea offers Iran a prime example of how a rogue state can parlay nuclear climbdown deals into time and opportunity to cheat — reaping benefits while still working toward nuclear weapons. In 2005, North Korea agreed to a widely hailed diplomatic deal to give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for aid and other concessions. A year later, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test.  Since then, rolling right over a much celebrated 2007 nuclear freeze deal, collecting aid and diplomatic concessions along the way, and surviving a father-son transition of despotic power, . . .  [more]

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 2, Block C: Hugo Miller, Bloomberg, CANADA'S SMARTEST INVESTOR INSANE?  BLACKBERRY IS IN FREEFALL, AND PREM WATSA IS BUYING   Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial Holdings plans to lead a $4.7 billion group bid to take over BlackBerry and take it private, hoping to disprove skeptics who don't believe he has the partners or the money to do it.  Here is a look inside Fairfax Financial Holdings and Watsa’s success.   full story….

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 2, Block D: Duane Stanford, Bloomberg, in re: CINNABON: HUSTLING THE GUT BOMB  Cinnabon is a $1 billion empire thanks to the savvy of 35 year-old CEO Kat Cole and the public's cult-like infatuation with the 880-calorie “gut bomb” classic cinnamon roll (it clocks in at 330 calories over a Big Mac). Cinnabon’s 1,000 stores in 50 countries collectively sell about 100 million of the rolls each year, and Cole, who was formerly with Hooters – starting as a waitress and rising to VP -- has helped the company move its treats onto supermarket shelves and into fast-food restaurants by way of licensing deals. Those deals now account for more than half the chain’s revenue.

Hour Three

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 3, Block A: Debra Saunders, sfgate, in re: With his slick, deceitful sales pitch about lowering people's premiums, Obama now has to contend with voter expectations. Democrats sold this package as a big bonanza for American families who have been squeezed too hard. Now many are finding out that not only is there no $2,500 in savings; instead, surprise, their premiums just went up. The administration won't say how many people have enrolled. Wonder why? Voters never should have believed that Washington could offer more health care benefits to more people and that it would end up saving families thousands of dollars. It was too good to be true, and now the bill is coming due. [more]

As a candidate for president, Barack Obama sold his signature universal health care plan with the promise that it would "cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year."

Now that the Affordable Care Act exchanges are open for business, voters are finding that the biggest problem with Obamacare isn't that some Web sites crashed last week but that the Obama promise of big savings for the average family was too good to be true. Now that the exchanges are open for business, people who already have individual coverage have something new to not like: sticker shock. The Affordable Care Act isn't affordable after all. Last week, I began hearing from readers whose individual policy premiums are going up, not down. A local architect sent me a notice he received from Kaiser informing him that his individual coverage will increase by $199.95 per month, or 78.9 percent. When he added his two sons, the percentage increase was even greater. A freelance journalist told me she made $98,000 last year. But she and her retired husband, both 51, wouldn't pay $7,200 in premiums for high-deductible coverage. It's cheaper to pay the fine, she said. Besides, she added, "we're healthy." . ..  [more]

Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, in re: The city’s desire to keep its employees in Stockton is understandable, as is the need to let future public workers know that, come hell or high water, the city’s pension promises are safe. But if they’re not, in fact, safe, it’s not clear to us how it does anyone any good to pretend that they are and just hope the problem goes away. Stockton is putting its post-bankruptcy future at risk—all to avoid reckoning with a growing problem that they should have faced up to years ago. One last hope for salvation comes at the very end of the Sac Bee’s report: Voters may weigh in next year on a proposed state ballot measure that would allow local governments to cut future pension benefits they cannot afford. One can only hope.

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  Rep Devin Nunes (CA-21), in re:  Washington finagling. Washington has turned into the Star Wars bar – last chance for GOP to get it right and also for Pres Obama to save his presidency. This is more important than ever because the debt is at a place where I don’t think we can last through this Administration without a major explosion: $17 trillion. Ways and Means has been working for three years on tax reform. Also Paul Ryan-Patty Murray talks for months on Medicaid and Social Security reform. This is the last stop.  Paul Ryan's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.    The president wants to beat the Republicans; wanted to shut the govt own and we foolishly fell into the trap.  He wants to take this to the end, believing that we'll fold, He has good cards in his hands; GOP can’t produce 218 votes.  I don’t see a short-term solution at this point. Republicans have to have a talk with themselves. Paul Ryan op-ed in the Journal now. 

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Robert Zimmerman,, in re: 1. Branson says SpaceShipTwo will be fully functionable in three months. Also, Virgin Galactic partners with reality TV show.  Branson is a superb marketer, but we hear that there are technical problems – a test engine blew up because of a hybrid fuel – need more power to get into suborbital space with cargo and passengers on board. This is late in the development schedule: they designed the spacecraft for the engine, which now need to be replaced.  2. LADEE is now in lunar orbit.  Spacecraft to  look at he lunar atmosphere and its dusty environment.  3. MAVEN is cleared to launch to Mars, despite government shutdown.  4. India also gets ready for the launch of its first Mars probe.  5. The solar maximum is over.

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Eric Trager, Washington Institute, in re: Egypt Attacks Are Escalating Amid Signs of a Stalemate  The lethal conflict between Egypt’s military-backed government and its Islamist opponents grew on Monday, with an expansion of attacks against government targets and a refusal by either side to back down.

Hour Four

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 4, Block A: John Quincy Adams, Harlow Giles Unger. (1 of 4)

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 4, Block B: John Quincy Adams, Harlow Giles Unger. (2 of 4)

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 4, Block C: John Quincy Adams, Harlow Giles Unger. (3 of 4)

Tuesday  8 October 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: John Quincy Adams, Harlow Giles Unger. (4 of 4)

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Hour 1: Infamous, Inception, Frost/Nixon

Hour 2: Eastern Promises, Die Another Day, Dexter, Mark Twain

Hour 3: The Internationale, Independence Day, Assassin's Creed

Hour 4: Liberty