The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Air Date: 
April 15, 2014

Photo, above: Russian media describing events in Slavyansk, Eastern Ukraine:  Junta MVDU boss Arseny Avakov attempted to “restore order” in the eastern Ukraine by sending troops to the region. This morning, Avakov announced the start of a military operation in Slavyansk, in Donetsk Oblast. Supposedly, the operation is under a so-called “Anti-Terrorist Centre of the SBU” {this is a nonentity for media purposes… no such real unit or body exists: editor}. Avakov again didn’t use official media; he used his Facebook page to make the announcements, saying, “The SBU directs the ‘Anti-Terrorist Centre, which has units from all the national armed forces”.  [more]

See also below, Hour 3, Block B, Paul R. Gregory, Hoover and Forbes, in Russian TV Propagandists Caught Red-Handed: Same Guy, Three Different People (Spy, Bystander, Heroic Surgeon)  Pity Russian propagandists. They . . .


Co-host: Larry Kudlow, CNBC senior advisor; and Cumulus Media radio

Hour One

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 1, Block A: Steve Forbes, publisher and author; in re:  LK: 2% inflation causes $50,000 to dwindle to $30,000 in thirty years.   SF: Yellin want 2.5% inflation – as though it were a thermostat.  Who gave the Fed the authority to impose a tax on the American people: 2% inflation constitutes an $800 tax on a middle income family.  Paul Volcker fought battles against inflation: low inflation creates faster growth; Yellin and Bernanke argue the opposite – their policy will raise the unempl rate. The Phillips Curve has long been discredited.   Physically impossible for the Fed to stimulate an economy.  Shd focus on a stable value for he dollar. The idea that printing money stimulates an economy is like a restaurant printing more coat checks to get more coats.

John Taylor is right; five years after the meltdown we shd not have a 0% interest rate.  Should be 1.5% - that'd appreciate the dollar, which is now 30% below where it was in 2008.  Wd also lower the price of oil from our shale – go to $75 Bbl (which, btw, wd do damage to Mr Putin). QE didn’t stimulate the economy – it contracted it.  LK: flat tax for individuals and abolish the corporate tax to bring companies back home.  Right now, the US has the highest corporate tax rate in the world.  This president is antibusiness, which business knows; he wants redistribution, will do so while short-changing business, which certainly discourages business investment. 

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 1, Block B:  Phil Izzo, WSJ lead editor, Real Time Economics blog, in re: Over a million increase in the labor force – more people looking for work and working.  LK: If businesses don't make a major investment push, I don’t see how we can go over 200K jobs/2 to 3% growth. Trend lines says we’re 8 million jobs below target. That'll take years to catch up to.

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 1, Block C: Scott W Atlas, Hoover and Forbes, in re: Single Payer Is Inevitably Hillary Clinton's Unwise Fix for Obamacare  NHS in Britain: 65 years old and imploding – unconscionable wait time, workers feel badly treated, relatively poor care in many respects, and [broke].  Idealized versions of single-payer doesn’t occur in real life.  Scandals around morale, bureaucratic rather than patient-care focus, and finances. A massive strike vote happening now, incl physicians and specialists.  Also: a brain-drain!  Hillary Clinton's remarks in Florida; her policies in general.  . . .  LK: If Clinton in campaigning speaks of trying to replicate the NHS, she'll get crushed in 2016. 

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 1, Block D: Avik Roy, Forbes and Manhattan Institute, in re: RAND Comes Clean: Obamacare's Exchanges Enrolled Only 1.4 Million Previously Uninsured Individuals  Last week, I wrote about an article in the Los Angeles Times, on a then-as-yet unpublished report from the RAND Corporation. The report indicated that only one-third of Obamacare’s purported 7.1 million exchange sign-ups were from the previously uninsured. But Noam Levey, the author of the Times article, didn’t disclose RAND’s actual findings as to the actual number of previously uninsured exchange enrollees. Well, now we know why. RAND published the full report yesterday; it indicates that Obamacare’s exchanges only enrolled 1.4 million previously uninsured individuals.

That 1.4 million is out of a total of 3.9 million exchange enrollees overall. That is to say, a little over a third of enrollees—36 percent—were previously uninsured. RAND’s figures don’t take into account the last few weeks of the Obamacare open enrollment period, and they contain a substantial margin of error, due to the study’s small sample size.  [more]

Hour Two

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 2, Block A:  Stephen F. Cohen, NYU & Princeton prof Emeritus;  author: Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War, & The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag after Stalin (1 of 4), in re: 

RussiaToday blog.  Putin and Obama on phone: Putin avers that "Ukrainian aggression" is leading to what could be a civil war.  The threat of civil war now threatens both Europe and the US. Chancellor Merkel and Putin speak in Russian.  Worst-case scenario wd be war Russia-NATO or Russia-US.  The Ukr civil war has started; hard to imagine that these entities would not intervene. First two step: Russian troops in E Ukr, and Ukr troops in Western Ukr.  We're on the road. Putin told Ban that he wants a condemnation of the US for urging action by forces.  Mr Sikorsky in Poland has a strong voice in NATO, has a first-rate military. This is already an international matter.  Peoplea=say that in E Ukr, where there are pro-Russian Ukrainians who do not want to secede, want more autonomy inside Ukr; their current protests emulate the Kiyiv protestors of last autumn.  Western press called Kyiv "freedom fighters; calls these terrorists. Western war drumbeat. Fox, MSNBC, CNN all say: "Russians are invading Ukraine, it’s all unprovoked, this is Munich and like Hitler on the move, no appeasement or negotiations" – and if no negotiations, that leaves only actual war. 

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 2, Block B: Stephen F. Cohen (2 of 4), in re: Putin refers to protecting "Russian speakers," not Russian citizens.  Article by Dr Cohen in The Nation: Russian bottom line for a settlement: end to NATO expansion to any remaining FSU republics – primarily Ukraine, but incl Georgia.  This crisis began because of efforts to bring Ukr into NATO.  Russia wants Ukr to be stable – Moscow depends on trade, asks for a Ukr federal constitution

like that of the US, with individual rights of oblasti – but this sounds more like a confederation where the central govt is almost powerless.  Currently, Kiev appoints all oblast governors; locals want to elect their own. Russians want regions to have foreign-policy rights, which renders a unified state impossible.  Four alternatives: a negotiated, federated Ukr, with all three parties mostly satisfied; or civil war; or war 'twixt Russia and US; or Ukr partitioned between east and west – and what to do with the middle, which is a big ethnic and cultural mixture?   JB: Russians say that fascists and extremists are creating chaos; armored tanks are rolling; it's too late for negotiations. Pulling back to a federation can’t be – its broken.  SC: I can’t agree that there's no chance for negotiation.  A confederacy would be the end of Ukraine. We have two different stories – Moscow's and Washington's.  The latter: all the unrest is caused by Putin. This obscures the problem, which is that Ukraine is a fundamentally divided country. The Russian story ain't too accurate, but the American story is detached from reality. 

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 2, Block C: Stephen F. Cohen (3 of 4), in re: Sloviansk. Lukansk residents stopped 6 APC trucks with howitzers heading toward Donetsk. Russian press calls this an uncalled-for aggression by Kyiv.  Kyiv foreign minister to go to talks Thurs 17 April; Russia may send a rep not Lavrov.  White House praised the Kyiv govt for enforcing its law in eastern Ukraine.  Ukr has called May 25 elections for president, only Moscow wants parliamentary elections, too.  Currently  in parliament, some members have fled in fear for heir lives.  . . .  Ukr is bankrupt; only financial resources are from oligarchs.  Watch out: this govt, unstable, representing half of Ukraine (or less) , may see no other salvation but bringing in NATO and to do that provoke Russia.   Recall the disgraced Victoria Nuland of State Dept speaking on her unencrypted cell phone.  Everyone knows that the Ukr intelligence svcs are populated by many pro-Russian agts, so John Brennan's just-past "secret" mission to Kyiv was instantly known everywhere.  It’s astounding that someone in Washington thought the visit could be kept a secret – this means that the WH has no clue what’s going on in Ukraine.  Russians have tapes of everything else. Btw, Ukr intell svcs are prepared to deliver all tapes to Moscow. 

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 2, Block D: Stephen F. Cohen (4 of 4), in re:  . . .  best outcome . . .   that Russia and Ukraine remain trading partners.  Russians argue that May elections are too soon. Also want parliamentary elections because they think that the current legislature – Rada - isn’t fairly representative, which may be accurate. Need a new Rada, president, and constitution. Obligatory to have intl election monitors.  Whose peacekeepers in advance – UN?  Not EU, which is a party to this warlike situation. Russians have successfully been peacekeepers widely except in Georgia!   Tbilisi (on the specific advice of Washington) killed Russian peacekeepers on the border, which precipitated that invasion.  As for Washington: if they believe what they're saying, they're almost totally uninformed, and uninformed people go to war.

Hour Three

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 3, Block A:  Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, in re: The Democrats' Latest False Wedge Issue  [link]  . . . She gave a dramatic eye-roll in reaction to all of the fuss that Democrats and the president attempted to create over equal pay for women last week. A Democrat, herself, she said she's carved out a decent, comfortable life for her family over the years as a waitress at a local restaurant. “I am in many ways my own boss,” she explained. “It's up to me to get the order right, treat people well, and use my personal skills to increase my wages.” And she's “sick and tired of my party treating me like a victim. This is not 1970, and it's insulting.”  Then she elbowed the waiter standing beside her, who joked that, despite being younger, he has to work twice as hard to keep up with her earnings.

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 3, Block B: Paul R. Gregory, Hoover and Forbes, in re: Russian TV Propagandists Caught Red-Handed: Same Guy, Three Different People (Spy, Bystander, Heroic Surgeon)  Pity Russian propagandists. They must stage scenes of massive and violent demonstrations in East and South Ukraine. They must patch together actual demonstration footage with images of exploding grenades, intermittent automatic weapon fire, wounded pro-Russian civilians, and menacing Ukrainian extremists, organized, paid for, and directed by sinister outside forces. They must show valiant local civilians opposing the Neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist juggernaut from Kiev.

The Putin propaganda machine cannot rest. It must provide new footage daily for a viewing public eager for the next Ukrainian outrage, growing angrier with each passing day, and asking: When will our great leader, Vladimir Putin, go in and rescue our poor brethren across the border in Ukraine?

Interviews with innocent by-standers and ordinary citizens are a staple fare of the coverage. A woman shows the camera hundreds of spent cartridges she gathered after a night of violence. Extremists turn outraged local residents, on their way to visit wounded comrades, away from the hospital.  A babushka, in tears, bemoans the terror in which she lives and pleads for the Russians to restore order and civilization. Pretty good stuff. I’d believe it if I didn't know better.

The Russian propagandists, trapped on a racing assembly line, are bound to cross wires on occasion. [more]

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 3, Block C:   John Nicolson, Scotland, in re:   Alex Salmond's Trident plan 'would put UK nuclear deterrent in     First Minister warned by senior ex-defence chiefs that scrapping Trident will endanger jobs and cast 'dark shadow' over relations with allies. Alex Salmond's plan to scrap Trident after Scottish independence would put the UK's nuclear deterrent "in jeopardy", more than a dozen of Britain's most senior defence veterans have warned.

Removing Trident nuclear weapons from Scotland after a Yes vote would endanger thousands of jobs and cast a "dark shadow" over relations with allies, the former army and defence chiefs warned.  They said the SNP's proposed timescale for scrapping Trident would create "huge practical problems" and "inevitably sour" post-independence negotiations, adding that such an anti-nuclear stance would be "unacceptable" to Nato allies.  The stark analysis came in a letter to the First Minister written by admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, former first sea lord and chief of naval staff, and co-signed by former heads of the army, navy, air force and intelligence.

Key SNP "White Paper" defence pledges - outlined in the party's 670-page blueprint for independence - are challenged in the letter, including the claim that a separate Scotland could join Nato despite its explicit anti-nuclear stance . . .

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 3, Block D: Tunku Varadarajan, Hoover and Times of India, in re: Narendra Modi hits back at Rahul Gandhi for 'toffee' comment  Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi for dubbing Gujarat development model as a 'toffee model', Narendra Modi on Tuesday compared . . .

Hour Four

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 4, Block A:  Charles Pellegrino, author and explorer (1 of 2), in re: SS Californian was a Leyland Line steamship that is best known for the controversy surrounding her location during the sinking of the RMS Titanic on 15 April 1912. She was later sunk herself, on 9 November 1915, by a German submarine in the Eastern Mediterranean during World War I. [more]

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 4, Block B: Charles Pellegrino, author and explorer (2 of 2)

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 4, Block C:  Jordan Robertson, Bloomberg, in re: Heartbleed Hackers Steal Encryption Keys in Threat Test. Security professionals demonstrated last weekend that the recently disclosed Heartbleed bug can be exploited to allow criminals and intelligence agencies to make off with one of the most sought-after prizes in hacking: the private keys that websites rely on to decrypt sensitive information, including passwords, banking details and health data. [more]

Tuesday 15 April 2014 / Hour 4, Block D:   Robert Zimmerman,, in re:

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