Monday 7 April 2014
Photo, above: Singer Ruslana Lyzhychko of Ukraine holds a Ukrainian national flag during an interview with Agence France-Presse at the State Department in Washington, DC, on March 4. (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad) Note URL correction: http://www.ruslana.ua
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Co-host: Thaddeus McCotter, WJR
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 1, Block A: Aaron Task, Yahoo Finance, in re: . . . . executives still very wary of putting money into mfrg; mergers and acquisitions maybe coming, but people get fired in M&A so that's not job-creation. "Temp jobs are surging" – might be more work, or could be reluctance to hire. The transfer of mfrg from the US to China, where the US went from production to consumption, is a nonsustainable model. The only way for govt to pay for svcs is higher taxes. Alternative: more stimulus. [Now we’ve put in $4 trillion? in stimulus debt. You cannot spend your way out of debt.] Bond mkt is so focussed on the Fed . . . Doesn't matter if it's the engine or the caboose – spending and taxing . . . Who's got the money? Corps and CEOs are rewarded because the mkt is at an all-time high. Ergo, CEOs are being rewarded munificently to do nothing!
U.S. stocks fell on Monday with the S&P 500 posting its biggest three-day drop in two months, as investors bid down Internet stocks and rotated into defensive names to protect against further declines.
Internet stocks were among the day's biggest decliners with Amazon.com (AMZN.O) down 1.6 percent at $317.76 and Yahoo! Inc (YHOO.O) off 3.5 percent at $33.07. The Global X Social Media ETF (SOCL.O) which includes Groupon Inc (GRPN.O) and LinkedIn (LNKD.N) fell 2.5 percent.
The Nasdaq index (^IXIC) posted its worst three-day decline since November 2011. But the biotechnology sector, which saw sharp declines in the past several sessions, ended higher with the Nasdaq biotech sector index (.NBI) up 0.5 percent at 2,367.94. Selling pressure migrated to other sectors, with only defensives such as utilities (.SPLRCU) and consumer staples (.SPLRCS) in positive territory among the 10 major S&P sectors.
Winter Wrapup: Where Was the Hiring and Firing This Year? The economy's winter of discontent wasn't that bad for construction workers and oil drillers. But some dreams were dashed in Hollywood.
Benefits expired, but the labor force dropouts haven't surged. "The main reason for the flat unemployment rate was a surge in the labor force -- the number of people working or looking for work. The labor force jumped by more than half a million people in March, following a sizeable jump in February. After many months of people giving up the job search, that could be an indication more people are coming off the sidelines and back into the labor force. The development may be especially surprising given the expiration in extended unemployment benefits in late December." Phil Izzo in The Wall Street Journal.
More good news in the job report -- sort of. "We've recovered! The country now has more private sector jobs than it did before the recession, surpassing its previous peak. That was in January 2008, when there were 115,977,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' survey of businesses. Last month, the bureau announced Friday morning, there were 116,087,000. High fives all around. Actually, no. Many of the comparisons of the pre- and post-recession economies leave out one significant detail: we're not just trying to get back to where we were before the bottom dropped out. We're trying to get back to where we would have been. Keep in mind that we have 15 million more people now than we did then, an increase of 4.6 percent." Shaila Dewan in The New York Times.
The long view: A long way to go to achieve pre-recession robustness. "'Growth-wise, in terms of the economy and the labor market, we think 2014 will look a lot like 2013 and 2012 did,' said Guy Berger, United States economist at RBS Securities. 'In all likelihood, we will see average monthly job gains of a little north of 200,000 this year.' While that pace of job creation would gradually bring the unemployment rate down, it would take until nearly the end of the decade before the labor market returned to the level of robustness that prevailed in the mid-2000s, let alone the 1990s." Nelson D. Schwartz in The New York Times.
Temp jobs are surging as firms contain expenses. "The economy is creating jobs. But how many of them will endure? The 'short-term' staffing industry is enjoying a long-term boom, with temps accounting for more than one-tenth of all job growth since 2009, according to government data." Damian Paletta in The Wall Street Journal.
Stocks Retreat as High-Growth Tech Shares Slide The Nasdaq Composite Index stumbled to its third consecutive decline and its biggest three-day percentage fall since November 2011. Abreast of the Market: Drawn to Dividends MoneyBeat: Will Tech Selloff Spread? E.S. Browning: Stocks' Grind Higher Won't Be Easy Heat Map of Market | Live: Markets Pulse
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 1, Block B: Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re: Zawahiri eulogizes al Qaeda's slain Syrian representative Ayman al Zawahiri has released an audio message eulogizing Abu Khalid al Suri, who was killed on Feb. 23. Zawahiri confirms that he knew al Suri since before the 9/11 attacks and that they had been in direct communication after the beginning of the Syrian revolution.
Former Guantanamo detainee killed while leading jihadist group in Syria Ibrahim Bin Shakaran, a Moroccan who spent more than three years at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility before being freed, has been killed while leading Sham al Islam in Latakia – jihadist group mostly of Moroccans and North Africans, with some Syrians. Bin Shakaran had run a recruiting network for Abu Musab al Zarqawi after being released by the US. A decade after being released from Guantanamo, and with all ten intervening yeas in jihad, he dies. Is the DoD any longer serious about this? Is Egypt suddenly more afraid of us than of al Qaeda? The new Egyptian govt is carefully ridding itself of jihadists; the US is of little interest. The guy killed in Syria: why was he let k=go? We can’t figure it out. We always see DoD saying, "He's not a threat," or "He's high risk" – and letting 'em go.
Terrorism in the Caucasus and the threat to the US homeland Testimony to the House Committee on Homeland Security on the threat posed by the Islamic Caucasus Emirate and the implications for US homeland security.
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 1, Block C: Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re: Syria. Al Q been warring with a rogue faction Islamic State of Iraq and e Levant (ISIS); guy killed had the video tapes of the World Trade Center that were used to plan 9/11. Was Zawahiri's main rep in Syria till he was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber on March 23. The spookiest thing going on now: al Q has evolved its strategic doctrine to sound like a poplar revolutionary movement – Maoist (studied by al Q strategists); the Islamic State dismisses that, prefers a top-down approach. This disagreement is he main issue between the fitna – internecine fighting. "If al Qaeda is Maoist, ISIS is Stalinist."
Islamists in Caucasus are a threat not only to Russia but to the globe, incl the US. Fighters from the Islamic Caucasus Emirates are extremely skilled fighters with many years' experience. are teaching fighters from all over including Westerners. Leaders of several jihadist groups are Chechens. Can they attack Russia's strategic interest? Absolutely. Abu Mohammed, emir of the Caucasus Emirates: "Serious payback time." Note: Pakistani ISI had a bin Laden desk. Probably doing the same thing now with Zawahiri, who's running his intl network. US is probably looking for him; this Administration probably thinks that if they kill Zawahiri, they'll have obliterated "core al Qaeda" – an insane notion, but one held by Washington.
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 1, Block D: Lara M Brown, George Washington University, & Francis Rose, Federal News Radio, in re: Hispanic support of ACA and Democrats is declining rapidly (63 to 48 in six months; see Pew Research Center): maybe because the website is complex and poorly-translated; also, fear that signing up may bring on scrutiny from Immigration. The critical number is seven: if the Dems lose seven Senate states, their goose is cooked. Every statement made for the next months pertains to this concern. Thaddeus: Also, Number One, their own selves. . . . Seniors have stopped rending Dem and increasingly trending Republican. Not caused by ACA, but perhaps cemented by it.
Can Democrats shift the politics of health care? The debate over the health-care law enters a new stage, with complications for both parties.
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 2, Block A: David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, & John Fund, National Review Online, in re: Mozilla fired its CEO, Brendan Eich, because he'd donated to a movement that opposed same-sex marriage. The fight now concerns witch-hunting. Proponents of the firing say that his position is similar to that off the KKK and of Holocaust-deniers. LA Times database exposed to the entre world every donor to many political activities over may years past. Paul Ryan's strategy: for House GOP to have an agenda.
House GOP tries to break free from 'obstructionist' label with Paul Ryan budget THE LEFT Voter-Fraud Denial It’s nonexistent or acceptable, Dems say.
Jeb Bush says he’ll decide on candidacy by end of year Bush, a Republican and former governor of Florida, is thinking about running for president in 2016.
For GOP presidential hopefuls, ‘credentials caucus’ begins Potential candidates huddle with former officials, pundits as they start shaping policy views ahead of 2016.
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 2, Block B: David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, & John Fund, National Review Online, in re:
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 2, Block C: Tunku Varadarajan, Daily Beast, in re: Indian elections (814 million voters).
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 2, Block D: Gordon Chang, Forbes.com, in re: China keeps doing "mini-stimuluses" – have to bolster failing companies to maintain Party power; allowing a few firms to fail, but not enough to save the economy, US-Chinese convocation on cyberespionage: the US revealed a great deal about US work, while China gave the US zilch. Made it very clear that they’re entirely unwilling to engage with us on that. If a low-level officer revealed to the US public what our Secretary of Defense to the Chinese, he'd be in prison for five lifetimes. Japan not able to shoot down sophisticated missiles; are fed up with North Korea and very worried about NoDong missiles, which can hit most of Japan. Problem with Hegel's announcement the he's sending two missile destroyers – by 2017. What?? The US needs to reassure the Japanese; this is terrible. Meanwhile South Korea found another North Korean drone that'd crashed; coming up: ugly aggression. No possible to guess when.
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 3, Block A: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Crisis atmosphere over the many, many trips Sec Kerry has taken the Holy Lannd. Is this the last gasp, or a serious attempt to sustain the talks that broke down last week? PA applying to 15 – no, now 50 – intl conventions, all in violation of the current round of talks plus written agreements*. Israel replied that then it wouldn't release the fourth tranche of prisoners till there was some assurance. Tzipi Livni, both Minister of Justice and a well-known dove, agrees. Lapide, who heads a large bloc in Knesset, also says that in this specific instance, cannot blame Israel. Kerry: OK, we'll reassess.
*If the PA enters intl conventions, US funding for the relevant UN organizations immediately ceases; therefore, UN is asking the PA not to apply. Israelis are content for PA to take this matter to the Intl Court – because then the PA can equally be in the dock for overt terrorist activities. Meanwhile, Nasrallah of Hezbollah has sent rockets into Golan – wants to prove his bona fides as his domestic support erodes. Also, he needs to shine as a terrorist to Iran, his financial sponsor. His rockets are too low to be tracked by Iron Shield; now, Israel is using a laser. "The next war will not be surgical strikes in Lebanon, because Nasrallah now is the govt there."
Israel’s Netanyahu blames collapsing peace talks on Palestinian leaders The Israeli prime minister threatens retaliatory steps if the Palestinians continue their appeal to the U.N.
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 3, Block B: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Congress did move; Hamid Abutalebi, newly-designated by Teheran to represent Iran in the UN, was in fact a main figure in the 444-day hostage-taking of Americans in Iran. Tonight, US Congress joined in a bipartisan vote declaring him non grata in the US. The White House has objected to the appt but did not refuse to give him a visa. Phylacrates (tefillin): one is opposite the heart, one [connected to?] the brain; found tiny ones among Dead Sea Scroll fragments. Sam Schear sent a wonderful piece from The Tablet: Sandy Koufax couldn’t pitch in the opening game of the 1965 World Series because it was Yom Kippur. Scheduled to pitch second game: failed. A rabbi showed up with two tefillin; Koufax wore them before the two games he won.
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 3, Block C: Ruslana, winner of 2004 Eurovision contest and consummate Ukrainian patriot, in re: Social movement, LightsofFreedom.com. I was in Maidan for 100 days and 100 nights. Through the winter. when snipers came looking for me, when police beat students. I sang Ukrainian national anthem 500 times. We sang the national anthem every hour through the night, with the lights of freedom and our flag. I read a lot of important information from the stage, not as a singer but as an activist. At this moment, there's occupation of bldgs in Donetsk and Kharkiv: by Russian citizens from [a proximate oblast] and from Rostovska oblast. We know that Putin paid for this; and Spetsnats came to Ukraine –I spoke with the legal head f this region; they destroyed shops with weapons, Russian radicals extremely aggressive. Also separatists. A friend of mine in Kharkiv, named Ruslan: These Russian citizens are trying to use Russian money to buy petrol. No Ukrainians have it. Can the Ukr govt hold together till the May elections? I thought Putin had agents in Kiev; . . . I'm not sure this govt has enough power to protect Eastern Ukraine. Facebook: Ruslana; also: http://www.ruslana.ua; also: LightsofFreedom.com
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 3, Block D: Ruslana, winner of 2004 Eurovision contest and consummate Ukrainian patriot, in re: Poroshenko, the Chocolate Oligarch. We need legal Ukrainian president, it doesn’t matter who wins. I keep focus for dangerous situation for region, like Kharkiv, Donetsk; I am not sure we will have election – Putin does not stop. Right now, Poroshenko doesn’t have enough power to safeguard Ukraine. Timoshenko said, "I will fight oligarchs" – Yulia Vladirovena, do not say this! We depend on oligarchs to hold the nation together. Would NATO troops in Poland help Ukraine? I am worried – I read some article from NATO general who said, "NATO will work with Russia, never stop speaking with Russia, and find some peace." For me this is dangerous, means that this NATO general try to support Putin actions. For me, what Putin did is a crime - he destroyed our law, our security: Budapest Agreement of 1994 (when the USSR broke up, Ukraine released its nuclear weapons under an agreement by both US and Russia to defend Ukraine if it was attacked – now a meaningless paper). Is there a future for Western Ukraine alone? No, and Putin will never leave us alone, he will destroy Eastern part of Ukraine, but it’s really dangerous for Russia to have a functioning democracy on its borders as that sets a disastrous example for Russians, who then will demand democracy. I'm sure Putin will do everything as quickly as possible. Putin never stop. JB: I agree: Eastern Ukraine, then Transdniestria, then Western Ukraine, then the Baltic States. RL: Putin has lobby here [$28 million to Ketchum? PR firm]; question: you cannot stop Putin, or you do not want to?
Photo, left: Meet Ruslana Lyzhychko, the Soul of Ukraine’s Revolution On an extraordinary night, Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin forces were turned back by a band of protesters led by a tiny pop star.
The crackdown on Maidan, Kiev’s main square, began after 3 a.m. when most of the protesters had gone to sleep. Thousands of Ukrainian interior ministry units quietly approached from all sides, preparing to cross the barricades of the “Eurolutionaries” The tents had occupied downtown Kiev for almost three weeks. Their only defense was a woman’s voice on the loudspeaker, stubbornly chanting: “Maidan ye! (Maidan exists) This is a peaceful protest!” The few hundred people left in the square repeated the woman’s words, as if it might protect them from tens of thousands of gleaming shields and rubber clubs prepared to strike.
The bitter cold had drained the protesters’ energy; it was unclear how they had even survived the freezing wind for so long. Ahead was a painful night of tough confrontations and the threat of violence. “Ruslana, spivai! (sing!)” somebody yelled from the crowd around the stage in the middle of the square. The orator, a petite woman in a black jacket and tight jeans, which were tucked into short Ugg boots, grabbed the microphone tighter and sang the Ukrainian national anthem: “Souls and bodies we'll lay down, all for our freedom.” He voice seemed to warm the air a little.
The pop star Ruslana Lyzhychko has become the revolutionary leader of Ukraine’s pro-E.U. protest movement. Her voice seems to take . . .
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 4, Block A: David Grinspoon, Library of Congress, in re: Enceladus & Cosmos.
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 4, Block B: Liz Peek, The Fiscal Times & Fox, in re: rebuilding Detroit
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 4, Block C: Larry Johnson, NoQuarter, and Pat Lang, blogger; in re: a tiff with Michael Rubin on Syria
Monday 7 April 2014 / Hour 4, Block D: Sid Perkins, Science magazine, in re: landslides and fault zones
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